Venezuela sells oil to Turkey-registered firm, as sanctions bite

(ALJAZEERA) – With sanctions blocking Venezuela from selling oil to the United States, state-owned energy firm Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) has turned to several little-known buyers, mostly companies from China and India, says the Reuters news agency.

Among the purchasers is a small company based in Turkey with no refineries but ties to the government of President Nicolas Maduro, according to internal documents and a PDVSA source.

Until recently, some of the world’s largest petroleum and refining firms, including US companies Chevron and Valero Energy, lined up to take Venezuelan oil cargoes. And PDVSA had a rigorous vetting process to ensure potential buyers had the capacity to pay.

But US sanctions imposed in January in an effort to overthrow Maduro have driven away many of those customers. PDVSA’s exports have slumped by more than a fifth since sanctions were imposed, according to company records and Refinitiv Eikon data.

Three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that directors at a March 14 meeting of PDVSA’s board temporarily waived some requirements for new customers or suppliers, including a requirement that they have at least two years’ experience in the oil industry.

Neither PDVSA nor Venezuela’s oil ministry responded to requests for comment from Reuters.