The ship is identified in internal documents as Honey, according to a report and a person with knowledge of the situation, and the tanker’s actual name is reportedly Horse.
The Iran-flagged supertanker started unloading about 2 million barrels of South Pars condensate at Venezuela’s state-controlled port of Jose on Saturday, Bloomberg reported.
The cargo will most likely be used by the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA to blend with Venezuela’s tar-like crude and help prop up production in the Orinoco oil belt.
OPEC founding member Venezuela, owner of the world’s largest oil reserves, has been struggling to stave off a fall in production after US sanctions cut off access to equipment and buyers for its oil. Output slumped to 339,000 barrels a day in July, the lowest level seen since the 1910s, OPEC and government data compiled by Bloomberg said.
This is the first time Venezuela has imported crude from Iran, although it’s imported gasoline. It’s also the country’s first oil import since April 2019, when it got a parcel of Nigerian oil Agbami to mix with its heavy oil and produce flagship Merey 16, the country’s top exported blend.
The ship Horse is registered to the National Iranian Tanker Company, which is already sanctioned by the US government. The US has been ratcheting up sanctions, leaving little room for companies to work with the Venezuelan government.
Iran has already shipped several cargoes of gasoline to Venezuela, but this is the first condensate trade between the two countries, Press TV reported.
Most importantly, the shipment is apparently the first to reach Venezuela since Iran supplied 1.5 million barrels of gasoline and diesel fuel to the country in May and June despite US threats to stop them.
Last month, the US government went on a full-throttle propaganda campaign, claiming that it had seized 1.116 million barrels of Iranian fuel because it was bound for Venezuela.
Iran, however, put down its foot to assert that neither the ships were Iranian nor their owners or their cargo had any connection to the Islamic Republic.