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Reuters news agency published a report this Friday stating that China would have assigned to a state-owned company focused on defense, the shipment of millions of barrels of Venezuelan oil, despite the U.S. sanctions. The decision would be taken as part of an agreement to compensate the debt of billions of dollars that Nicolás Maduro’s regime has with Beijing.
“China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) stopped carrying Venezuelan oil in August 2019 after Washington tightened sanctions on the South American exporter. But it continued to find its way to China via traders who rebranded the fuel as Malaysian,” Reuters has reported.
According to the news agency, the company has taken 13 cargoes carrying a total of around 25 million barrels of oil. These would include two vessels due to arrive in China in September. “The firm has taken 13 cargoes carrying a total of about 25 million barrels of oil, including two vessels due to arrive in China in September, according to the loading schedules of Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA, and tanker tracking data from Refinitiv and Vortexa Analytics”.
Venezuela’s debt with China
The sources requested anonymity, and one of them detailed that “these shipments are strictly under a government mandate, where CASIC was designated to move the oil as payment to offset Venezuelan debt (to China).”
Another source indicated that these shipments would pay for part of the Covid-19 vaccines sent to Venezuela in addition to other debts and goods.
“Venezuela’s debt dates to 2007, the era of then-President Hugo Chavez, when the country borrowed more than $50 billion from Beijing under loan-for-oil deals. Reuters could not determine how much of Venezuela’s debt remains outstanding. In August 2020, Beijing agreed to extend a grace period for $19 billion of the loans,” Reuters reported, “but China and Venezuela have not said whether that period has ended.”