Venezuela ships oil to Cuba on blacklisted supertankers Ship’s crew


By Marianna Parraga

March 13 (Reuters) – Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA on Monday loaded a supertanker with crude oil and fuel destined for Cuba, maritime documents showed, an unusually large volume to help its political ally weather an energy crisis that has seen repeated blackouts.

Several major power outages this year have left many Cubans worried about electricity this summer, when residents turn up the air conditioning to stay cool in the Caribbean heat.

Cuban officials have blamed intermittent power supply for hampering power generation, difficulties processing highly acidic Cuban crude oil and fuel shortages on the island, which depends heavily on imports from Venezuela.

A major fire last year destroyed part of the country’s largest oil terminal, Matanzas, and has created barriers to offloading fuel imports.

The supertanker flying the Panama flag nolan loads 400,000 barrels of fuel oil for power generation at the Jose Terminal in Venezuela this week. It will also load 1.13 million barrels of Venezuelan heavy oil, bringing the total cargo to 1.53 million barrels, according to internal PDVSA shipping documents. The ship is scheduled to put to sea later this month.

Cuba has very limited capacity to accommodate large tankers, especially since the Matanzas fire. The Nolan is destined for Matanzas, according to one of the documents showing where Cuban state-owned companies have offloaded imports by transferring cargo to smaller ships through ship-to-ship operations.

To avoid its own fuel crisis, Venezuela’s oil shipments to Cuba fell about 6% last year to 53,600 barrels per day (bpd), independent data based on tanker movements showed.

nolanowned by Nigeria-based Thomarose Global Ventures Ltd, was blacklisted by the US Treasury Department in November on charges of being part of it an international oil smuggling network that made oil trading easier for Hezbollah and Iran’s Quds Force.

PDVSA, Venezuela’s Oil Ministry and Cuba’s Center for International Press did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Thomarose Global Ventures could not be reached for comment.

The tanker has not sent a signal from its transponder since mid-December in Venezuela, according to vessel surveillance data from Refinitiv Eikon.

(Reporting by Marianna Parraga in Houston; Editing by Richard Chang)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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