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Venezuela will send fuel to Cuba in a supertanker included in the US blacklist

Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA was loading a supertanker with crude oil and fuel for Cuba on Monday, maritime documents showed, an unusually large volume to help its political ally overcome an energy crisis that has caused repeated blackouts.

Several major power outages this year have left many in Cuba concerned about supplies this summer, as residents turn on fans and air conditioners to keep cool in the Caribbean heat.

Cuban authorities have blamed difficulties processing Cuban heavy crude and fuel shortages on the island, which relies heavily on imports from Venezuela, for the intermittent power supply.

A big fire last year destroyed a part of the oil terminal country’s largest, Matanzas, and has created obstacles to unloading fuel imports.

The Panamanian-flagged supertanker Nolan is loading this week 400,000 barrels of fuel oil for electricity generation at the Jose terminal in Venezuela. It also plans to load 1.13 million barrels of Venezuelan heavy oil, bringing the total cargo volume to 1.53 million barrels, according to internal PDVSA maritime documents. The ship will set sail later this month.

Cuba has a limited capacity to receive large tankers, especially since the fire in Matanzas.

The Nolan is headed for Matanzas, one of the documents shows, where Cuban state companies have been unloading imports by transferring cargoes to smaller vessels through ship-to-ship operations.

Seeking to avoid another fuel crisis of its own, Venezuela’s oil supply to Cuba fell last year by around 6%, to 53,600 barrels per day (bpd), according to independent data based on tanker movement.

Nolan, owned by Nigeria-based Thomarose Global Ventures Ltd, was added to the US Treasury Department’s blacklist of sanctioned entities in November on allegations it was part of an international smuggling ring that facilitated trade in oil for Hezbollah and Iran’s Quds Force.

PDVSA, the Venezuelan oil ministry and the Cuban International Press Center did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Thomarose Global Ventures could not be reached for comment.

The ship’s transmitter has not emitted a signal since mid-December while it was in Venezuela, according to Refinitiv Eikon ship monitoring data.

Source: VOA Español

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