how Iran gets oil to an ally -Breaking
© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: A tanker being docked as oil is pumped in to it at the Jose Antonio Anzoategui ships terminal. This is the state of Anzoategui on April 15, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
By Marianna Parraga
HOUSTON (Reuters). A Venezuela-owned oil tanker sailed from Venezuela to a remote area in the Indian Ocean in March. According to tracking services and shipping documents, it met an Iran-flagged ship, and accepted a cargo of Iranian condensate.
The latest strategy by both countries was to continue oil flow to the markets, despite U.S. sanctioned sanctions. The countries are collaborating in energy to help Venezuela’s cash-strapped economy convert extra-heavy crude oil into liquids for exports.
Two very large Iranian crude carrier vessels (VLCC) were present in Venezuelan waters, discharging import condensate as well as crude for the state-owned oil company PDVSA. This month’s meeting took place in Caracas between Javad Owji, Iran’s oil minister and Nicolas Maduro, Venezuelan president.
Iran has also helped South America’s ally since 2020 by sending fuel and equipment to repair the PDVSA’s old refineries. A plant that was long neglected is being reopened after an extensive overhaul.
Maximo Gorki is the Venezuelan-owned supertanker that South America has abandoned after it lost three to PetroChina Co in 2020 as part of a dispute over its debt.
Although the tanker’s main purpose is to move PDVSA’s crude oil between its domestic ports, Washington has placed restrictions on Venezuelan oil imports in 2019.
PDV Marina needed to dispatch a crew from China early this year to rescue Maximo Gorki. Maximo Gorki had been left stranded in China for many weeks by mechanical difficulties.
According to TankerTrackers.com (a monitoring service that uses satellite images to track vessels), the tanker transferred a Venezuelan cargo of heavy crude oil in the South China Sea.
The Maximo Gorki then loaded Iranian condensate via a ship to-ship (STS), also 37 nautical miles away from The Maldives from VLCC Huge. This vessel is a National Iranian Tanker Co. (NITC) vessel. TankerTrackers.com stated.
Reuters was unable to independently confirm the identities of these vessels. PDVSA, NITC and others did not respond to our requests for comment.
A request to comment was not received by the Maldives government immediately. STS was transferred outside of Maldives territorial waters.
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Venezuela was not aware of the STS exchange between Maldives and Venezuela. However, Iran had conducted at most one previous exchange near archipelago waters, according to United Against Nuclear Iran, an advocacy group that tracks Iran-related tanker traffic.
Claire Jungman from UANI, chief of staff, stated, “As Maximo Gorki began its voyage towards Venezuela, Iran was able send out a NITC Tanker to meet him near The Maldives.”
“The Iranian tankers take approximately five days to travel from Khor Fakkan in Iran to Male, which is strategically advantageous for Iran,” said the capital of Maldives.
A portion of the 2-million barrel cargo of Iranian condensate was discharged by the supertanker when it docked last week in Venezuela. This was followed by several days of arrival by Iranian vessels Dino I (Iran) and Derya (Iran), which carried Iranian heavy crude and condensate as part of the swap agreement between the oil companies of the two countries.
This month, at least 2 million additional barrels Iranian oil and 1,000,000 more barrels condensate will be imported. According to a source familiar with the scheduling of cargo, PDVSA will send heavy crude oil and fuel oil to Iran’s National Iranian Oil Co. as part of its exchange.
NIOC didn’t respond to a request for comments.