Indian refiners have resumed buying Venezuelan oil through intermediaries, and Reliance is expected to meet with executives at state-owned PDVSA next week to discuss oil sales following the easing of US sanctions on the South American country, according to people familiar with the matter.
The resumption of trade between OPEC producers and the two oil export destinations comes after Washington in October temporarily lifted sanctions banning Venezuelan oil exports, leading to a wave of spot sales of crude and fuel through intermediaries and traders, especially to China.
However, Venezuela’s oil production is unstable, limiting its export supply.
India last imported Venezuelan crude in 2020. Access to Venezuelan heavy oil could reduce import costs for India, which has been a major buyer of Russian oil, and further reduce its dependence on the Middle East.
Three Indian refiners bought about 4 million barrels of Venezuelan crude for delivery in February at prices between $7.50 and $8 a barrel below the Brent date, on an off-ship delivery basis, according to five commercial sources.
Trading firm Vitol sold 1.5 million barrels to Indian Oil Corp and 500,000 barrels to HPCL-Mittal Energy (HMEL), a joint venture between state-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Mittal Energy Investment, the sources added.
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