Traders, Vessel Operators Reject Venezuelan Oil

According to Reuters, more vessel operators and energy firms are shunning Venezuelan oil and the tankers that have carried it, according to brokers and traders familiar with the matter.

Unipec, the trading arm of China’s Sinopec, Swiss trader Trafigura AG, oil firm Equinor ASA, Exxon Mobil Corp and others are shunning contracts or vessels that might put them in jeopardy of violating U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, according to sources and documents.

Washington in early August ratcheted up sanctions on Venezuela, adding measures that could punish non-U.S. firms, in efforts to squeeze President Nicolas Maduro, whose 2018 re-election is not considered legitimate by the Trump administration and most Western nations.

Unipec revised its contracts afterward to stipulate vessels it charters have not called at a port in Venezuela in the past year, according to a copy of the clause viewed by Reuters. Unipec is one of the main Chinese lifters of U.S. crude. Neither Unipec nor Sinopec could immediately be reached for comment.

Trafigura has not changed its contract clauses, but it has instructed its traders to do “zero business with Venezuela, not directly or indirectly,” one broker doing business with the company said.

Equinor declined to comment, but noted in an emailed statement that it “follows all relevant sanctions applicable to us”.

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