Oil caught in Venezuelan tug-of-war finally docks after year at sea

Crude oil tanker Gerd Knutsen (IMO 9041057) has finally offloaded 950,000 barrels of Venezuelan oil at a domestic port, according to shipping reports and vessel tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

The crude oil, valued at roughly $50m, belongs to Citgo Petroleum Corp, a US refiner led by appointees of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.

The Gerd Knutsen docked at the Port of Jose at a terminal run by Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the national oil company controlled by President Nicolas Maduro. Bloomberg said that it was unclear if the vessel was discharging with the consent of Guaido’s Citgo.

In December, a shadow board of Citgo directors chosen by Maduro attempted to seize the cargo, but was blocked by a US court.

  • January 22nd 2019: Gerd Knutsen, chartered by Citgo, finishes loading 950k bbl Diluted Crude Oil (DCO).
  • January 23rd 2019: President Trump recognizes Guaido as interim president of Venezuela.
  • January 28th 2019: US announces sanctions on PDVSA; Guaido says he will name a new Citgo board.
  • February 13th 2019: Venezuelan National Assembly approves new board members for Citgo.
  • December 2019: Citgo tries to block President Maduro’s bid to seize Gerd Knutsen’s cargo
  • February 5th: Guaido meets Trump at the White House.
  • February 6th: Six Citgo executives under house arrest are taken to prison.
  • February 13th: Gerd Knutsen berths at Jose to discharge cargo.

1996-built, Isle of Man-flagged, 79,592 gt Gerd Knutsen is owned by Knutsen Terminal Tanker care of manager Knutsen OAS Shipping AS of Haugesund, Norway. ISM manager is Canship Ugland Ltd of St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. It is entered with Skuld (business unit Skuld Oslo 2) on behalf of Knutsen OAS Shipping AS.