MOSCOW (MRC) -- Venezuela has begun importing Iranian heavy crude to feed its domestic refineries, documents from the state-run oil company PDVSA showed, a deal that widens a swap agreement signed last year by the U.S. sanctioned countries, reported Reuters.
The two nations last year initially agreed to a swap deal, with PDVSA importing Iranian condensate to dilute and process its extra heavy oil for export. In return, Venezuelan crude is being shipped via the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).
Iran's heavy crude, which is similar in quality to Venezuela's Mesa 30 crude, is set to augment domestic oil fed to PDVSA's refineries, according to the documents.
As part of the cooperation pacts, Venezuela in recent years has received Iranian equipment to revamp its refineries. The 146,000-bpd El Palito refinery is restarting a crude distillation unit this week after extensive repairs and upgrading that relied on equipment imported from Iran.
PDVSA did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
At least 200,000 barrels of Iranian heavy crude were delivered in mid-April to the 310,000-bpd Cardon refinery, Venezuela's second largest. Another 400,000-barrels of Iranian oil, which arrived on the very large crude carrier Dino I, is discharging this week at the country's Jose port, the documents showed.
The Dino I is scheduled to set sail later this month carrying Venezuela fuel oil for NIOC unit Naftiran Intertrade Co, according to one of the documents.
As MRC informed earlier, in November 2021, Venezuelan petrochemicals produced by joint ventures between state-run chemical firm Pequiven and foreign partners have arrived in the United States, despite Washington's efforts to limit trade with the OPEC oil and gas producer. At least two cargoes of methanol, a widely used industrial product whose prices have soared this year, have discharged at Houston area ports since October amid a rapid expansion of the South American country's global sales of petrochemicals and oil byproducts, according to tanker tracking and US customs data.
We remind that from January to October, 2021, PDVSA and Pequiven exported about 1.75 MM tons of petrochemicals and byproducts, putting the trade on track this year to double the 1.03 MM tons exported for the whole of 2020. Shipments of methanol this year ranged between 20,000 and 60,000 metric t per month, mostly bound for the Netherlands, Spain, Japan and China, according to the data and the three people.