An Iranian-flagged oil tanker left Venezuela for Iran’s Kharg Island on Friday October 9th reported Reuters, citing Refinitiv Eikon data. The vessel had loaded 1.9m barrels of heavy crude at the Venezuelan Jose oil terminal.
Venezuela and Iran have been increasing commercial ties to try to rescue their respective oil industries, both of which have come under pressure from US sanctions.
The VLCC is registered in shipping databases under the name Horse. It discharged 2.1m barrels of Iranian condensate to be used as a diluent for Venezuela’s extra heavy oil production in September. It then loaded Merey heavy crude, Venezuela’s flagship grade, for export under a deal between state-run oil companies Petroleos de Venezuela and National Iran Oil Company (NIOC) said Reuters, citing a PDVSA source.
PDVSA referred to the vessel as the “Master Honey” in its internal export schedules. The vessel arrived in Venezuela and loaded crude without transmitting its location, thus breaching international shipping law.
The US took no action to disrupt Master Honey’s voyage, or a separate group of three Iranian tankers that brought fuel to Venezuela last week. The country has plenty of crude oil, but is suffering a shortage of refined fuel because its infrastructure has deteriorated seriously in the past few years, drastically reducing its refining capacity.