(Argus, 29.Jul.2019) — India’s imports of Venezuelan crude jumped by 25pc year on year in June and by 37pc from May, reflecting the limited reach of US sanctions on the South American nation.
Imports from Venezuela rose to 303,000 b/d last month from 221,000 b/d in May and 243,000 b/d a year earlier, according to Indian customs data.
Indian private-sector refiner Reliance Industries (RIL) and Russian Rosneft-owned Nayara Energy are the only Indian buyers of Venezuelan oil. Venezuelan crude exports to India averaged $57/bl.
Indian refiners reduced total crude imports in June by 13.4pc from a year earlier as state-controlled refineries had shutdowns, reducing the impact of the loss of Iranian crude that is subject to separate US sanctions.
Indian refiners purchased only 4.13mn b/d of overseas crude last month, down from 4.76mn b/d a year earlier. Venezuela accounted for more than 7pc of India’s crude purchases in June compared to a 6pc share for US supply. The US shipped 252,000 b/d to India in June compared with 317,000 b/d in May and 129,000 b/d a year earlier, at $75/bl.
RIL has repeatedly said it is adhering to US sanctions with respect to crude imports from Venezuela. Any cutbacks by RIL may have been offset by higher purchases from Rosneft for its its 400,000 b/d refinery in Vadinar on India’s west coast.
Rosneft has outstanding oil-backed credit to PdV, which is partly secured by shares in PdV’s US refining subsidiary Citgo.
The US oil sanctions on Venezuela, which were imposed in late January, are aimed at forcing the departure of President Nicolas Maduro in favor of a transition government headed by opposition leader Juan Guaido.