Venezuela started importing Iranian heavy oil to feed its local refineries, in continuation of the mutual cooperation between Caracas and Tehran, which are defying US sanctions imposed on them.
Venezuela also struggles to get medium and light grades for its refineries; As its oil production has become heavy, which helps it cope with limited production and fuel shortages.
It increasingly needs lighter materials or refined products; To convert its extra heavy oil production to exportable grades, Reuters reported.
Expand the exchange agreement
Documents from the Venezuelan national oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, revealed the start of importing Iranian heavy crude, in a move that expands the exchange agreement signed by the two countries last year.
Petroleos de Venezuela imports Iranian condensate to lighten and process its extra heavy oil for export, and in return, Venezuelan crude is shipped through the National Iranian Oil Company.
According to the documents, Iranian heavy oil – similar in quality to Venezuela’s Mesa 30 crude – is set to increase domestic oil fed to PDVSA’s oil refineries.
Iranian oil imports
At least 200,000 barrels of Iranian heavy crude were delivered in mid-April to the 310,000 bpd Cardon refinery, Venezuela’s second largest.
The documents also showed that another 400,000 barrels of Iranian oil, which arrived aboard the VLCC Dino 1, will be offloaded this week at the Venezuelan port of Jose.
The tanker Dino 1 is scheduled to set sail later this month, loaded with Venezuelan fuel oil for the National Iranian Oil Company’s Petroran Intertrade unit, according to one of the documents.
Iran continues to supply Petroleos de Venezuela with condensate, in implementation of the agreements signed between the two countries.
The Venezuelan-owned tanker Maximo Gorky is scheduled to unload about two million barrels of condensate at the port of Jose, while the Iranian-flagged tanker Deria is waiting in Venezuelan waters to deliver its cargo, according to the Tanker Trackers service.
Within the framework of cooperation agreements, Venezuela has received in recent years Iranian equipment to renew its refineries.
El Palito refinery, which has a capacity of 146,000 barrels per day, will resume operation of the crude oil distillation unit this week, after extensive repairs and modernization that relies on equipment imported from Iran.
Visit of the Iranian Oil Minister
Iran’s Oil Minister, Javad Ogi, traveled to Venezuela last week to meet President Nicolas Maduro and discuss trade agreements with his Venezuelan counterpart Tarek El Aissami.
Ogi and more than 10 officials arrived in Caracas on April 30, without prior notice.
The Venezuelan Oil Ministry said – in a statement it issued – that the visit “aims at deepening bilateral cooperation mechanisms, and building ways and mechanisms to bypass the measures imposed by the United States.”
She added, “Caracas and Tehran reviewed the alliances they maintain in the OPEC Declaration of Cooperation, and the opportunities for bilateral cooperation in the oil, gas and petrochemical sector.”
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