Iranian supertanker leaves Venezuela

In what was reported by Reuters as a probable breach of US sanctions Iran-flagged supertanker on Saturday October 16th was about to set sail from Venezuelan waters carrying 2m barrels of heavy crude provided by Venezuelan state-run oil firm PDVSA, according to documents seen by Reuters and vessel tracking services.

The shipment is part of a deal agreed by PDVSA and its counterpart National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) that exchanges Iranian condensate for Venezuela’s Merey crude. The swaps aim to ease an acute shortage of diluents that has cut Venezuela’s oil output and exports.

Identified as the Dino I, a very large crude carrier (VLCC) owned and operated by NIOC’s National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), there is no such vessel listed by Equasis. NIOC has several dozen tankers capable of carrying 2m barrels of crude.

The vessel in question finished loading the Venezuelan oil at PDVSA’s Jose port late on Friday, according to the documents, a source and monitoring service TankerTrackers.com.

The bilateral oil trade could be a breach of US sanctions on both countries, the US Treasury Department told Reuters last month, citing government orders that establish the punitive measures.

The vessel arrived in Venezuela in September with its transponder turned off while carrying 2.1 million barrels of Iranian condensate. The light oil fed PDVSA’s

A second condensate cargo of similar size is expected to be delivered to Venezuela in the coming weeks, as part of an ongoing swap routine, which will be in effect for six months in its first phase.

PDVSA first launched the exchange last month by sending 1.9 million barrels of Merey heavy crude on the Iran-flagged supertanker Felicity.