As oil companies need heavy crude oil, which has so far come from Venezuela, a U.S.-sanctioned country steps in for an equally sanctioned country
Sometimes sanctions follow a strange logic. In January and February, the U.S. was still importing more than 26 million barrels of crude oil from Venezuela, daily between 500.000 and 700.000 barrels. That was already somewhat less than one year before. In February it was still 239.000 barrels per day. At the end of January, the U.S. government banned imports from the Venezuelan state-owned company PdVSA, causing demand in Venezuela to fall from almost 1.2 million barrels in January to less than 740,000 in March.000 in March. In April, 139.000 barrels per day were exported to the USA, and by the end of April, with the entry into force of the embargo, nothing more.
However, last week 49 barrels of.000 barrels per day have been introduced. If the purchases were made before January, they may still be imported into the USA. However, the payments should no longer go to PdVSA, but only to special accounts.
However, imports of heavy Siberian crude oil into the USA have risen sharply as a result of the shortfall from Venezuela. Some companies in the USA, including Citgo, have so far processed almost exclusively heavy crude oil from Venezuela and are dependent on finding a substitute for it. As a result, imports from Iraq, Nigeria, Brazil and Angola have also increased. On the other hand, PdVSA is coming under increasing prere, as less and less oil can be demanded and shipped, while debts are rising.
The German shipping company Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), which operates several PDVSA tankers, is currently trying to collect three of them because of unpaid debts. They are said to be worth $16 million. BSM has already returned four tankers to PDVSA and wants to do the same with another nine. But PDVSA has difficulties to find another operator and personnel because of sanctions and debts. Allegedly, captains of PDVSA tankers traveling between Venezuela and Cuba have been told to turn off transponders to avoid detection by the U.S.
As Bloomberg reports, 13 tankers from Russia are now delivering nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil to the U.S. It is expected that the u.S., whose government is prering Germany over its dependence on Russian gas and the construction of Nord Stream 2, will triple monthly oil imports to compensate for the loss of Venezuelan crude: "Russian shipments to the U.S. are on speed", Russ Dallen of Caracas Capital Markets said. 7.5 million barrels of Siberian oil were imported from Russia last year. In 2014 and 2015 there were no imports, in 2016 and 2017 there were 2.9 and 2.5 respectively. 1.6 million barrels.
Sputnik quotes Russ Dallen as saying that it is ironic that a country sanctioned by the U.S. is now benefiting from imports of crude oil. In addition, the U.S. government has expressed its disgust at the presence of Russian soldiers in Venezuela and has called for their withdrawal, citing the revived Monroy Doctrine. U.S. Secretary Pompeo had warned in late March that the U.S. would not stand idly by while Russia supported Venezuela. The Russian soldiers were going to increase tensions.
Since there was also a demand for crude oil in European countries due to the fallout from sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, Russia was able to export more at higher prices here as well. According to Sputnik "Russian oil companies earned 140 million euros in March. Dollars more than in October, before the imposition of oil sanctions on Iran and before Trump’s ban on oil shipments from Venezuela".