Last month, China’s state-run CNPC canceled loadings of Venezuelan crude it had scheduled for August, after Washington issued an executive order that froze Venezuelan government property on U.S. soil and warned foreign companies they also could face sanctions for doing business with PDVSA.
PDVSA is responsible for delivering oil to Chinese firms to repay billions of dollars loaned to Venezuela. The United States has been ratcheting up efforts to oust President Nicolas Maduro, whose 2018 re-election is deemed illegitimate by most western nations.
The drop comes even as a number of shipments are moving on tankers that are not turning on their signaling transponders while approaching or leaving Venezuelan waters, according to Refinitiv Eikon vessel tracking data. This has made it difficult to fully measure exports and confirm their delivery destination.
Since the suspension, Russia’s state-run oil company Rosneft has increased its share of Venezuelan oil, with China as primary destination. Rosneft lifted 65% of PDVSA’s total exports in August versus 49% in July, according to internal PDVSA trade reports.
PDVSA did not reply to a request for comment.
The second-largest destination of Venezuelan oil last month was Europe, where Spanish oil firm Repsol has continued swapping refined products for Venezuelan crude. No. 3 was Cuba, Maduro’s closest political ally. Shipments to India, previously a preferred market for Venezuelan crude, fell to a single 1-million-barrel cargo, the data showed.