Nicolas Maduro’s regime secretly exported millions of barrels of oil on 14th November using the new method of converting oil-laden ships into “ghost ships.”
A report by the Bloomberg news agency revealed that with the help of the Russian state oil company Rosneft, the dictatorship sent almost two million barrels of oil to Asia. The ships turned off the satellite tracking devices to prevent exposing their location, evade international sanctions, and avoid arrest.
According to the article, the Liberian oil tanker Dragon sailed in Venezuelan waters under contract with the Russian state oil company Rosneft.
Rosneft is allegedly acting as a middleman for Asian buyers, and is helping Maduro evade international sanctions; the Russian oil company is ensuring that the oil reaches Chinese and Indian buyers.
“The office, composed of three oil salesmen, two of whom used to work for PDVSA, helped Rosneft handle 70 percent of all oil exported by Venezuela in August,” the news agency said.
According to Bloomberg, Maduro’s regime managed to ship at least 10.86 million barrels of oil in the first 11 days of November, doubling the quantity it did in October.
Oil on sale
Venezuela reportedly sold a barrel of oil at a 31% discount compared to the average OPEC price.
According to La Patilla, in October, PDVSA liquidated a barrel at an average price of 45.69 USD per barrel, 23.7 % less than the Opep basket, which averaged 59.91 USD per barrel.
“With the Russians intermediating more than 60% of the crude oil that Venezuela exports, these unusual discounts, greater than 15%, make one suspect that both the Venezuelan and Russian sides could be in a scheme to distribute commissions among themselves at the expense of the national treasury. This is a matter that should be investigated,” an expert told La Patilla.
Is production increasing?
The crude oil production that had bottomed out in Venezuela in the middle of a production of 600 thousand barrels per day has increased recently but not thanks to PDVSA but to the partner companies.
According to Reuters, oil production averaged 926,000 barrels per day in November, which is 200,000 barrels more than in October. That is a 20% increase.
What has happened is that PDVSA delivered production, sales, and collections to the partner companies, even though they were a minority in the partnership scheme. Repsol, Rosneft, Chevron, and Gazprom manage the whole process according to Al Navío.
Everything coincides: Maduro will hand over operations to mixed companies and the Venezuelan opposition in the National Assembly will discuss a new Hydrocarbons Law. According to Konzapata, the new regulations would allow multinationals to obtain the majority of mixed companies.