Chinese oil companies may soon decline to charter any tanker that has visited Venezuela within the past year to avoid disruption to operations if the US blacklists more ships for trading with Caracas, four shipping sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
The United States government is seeking to choke Venezuelan oil exports to starve. The govt of socialist President Nicolas Maduro of its main source of revenue. Existing sanctions have cut Venezuelan exports sharply, but Maduro has persisted.
Washington may tighten sanctions by adding dozens of more tankers to an existing blacklist, US sources told Reuters on Friday.
That has prompted Chinese oil firms to think about dropping. The utilization of tankers that have called at Venezuelan ports at any time during the last 12 months, said the sources. Who spoke on condition of anonymity thanks to the sensitivity of the difficulty.
“There may be a sense of growing risk now with such tankers,” one among the sources said.
Leading Chinese oil companies Unipec, PetroChina, and CNPC [CNPC.UL] couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Unipec last year banned the utilization of vessels linked to Venezuelan oil exports. Although it’s unclear how strictly that was enforced. US major Exxon Mobil Corp imposed an identical ban.
Oil companies and merchants worldwide
Oil companies and merchants worldwide – not just in China – are getting warier of vessels that have recently transported Venezuelan oil, sources said.
“Anything on the potential sanctions list will just become toxic,” a source at a top oil trading company said. “No one will touch it until it’s clear what the principles are going to be .”
Broker Clarksons Platou Securities estimated that 77 tankers had called at Venezuela’s main oil ports since December alone, quite 2% of the worldwide fleet. Then we’re potentially in danger of sanctions.
Increased sanctions would have a consequence on the remainder of the oiler market as oil companies and merchants scramble to swap out sanctioned vessels for others. a choice late last year by the United States government to sanction two units of the Chinese tanker company COSCO caused freight rates to hit record highs and roiled global oil trade.