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Turkish ship company is transporting Venezuelan crude



By Argus

Petroleumworld 04 11 2019

Turkey-based Gungen is one of a handful of shipowners that continues to transport Venezuelan crude oil after the US levied sanctions on the South American country's state-owned oil company PdV in January.

Most major oil tanker operators have turned away from Venezuelan crude because of legal, safety or other concerns. But two of Gungen's six-strong Turkish-flagged Suezmax-only fleet have loaded Venezuelan oil in the last two weeks.

One of them, the Ottoman Courtesy , loaded around 1mn bl near Amuay Bay in Venezuela on 1 April, and is currently located off Guyana and heading toward Kemaman, Malaysia, according to Argus vessel tracking.

To pick up its Venezuelan crude, the Ottoman Courtesy traveled from Asia without any cargo through the Panama Canal. Typically, an empty Suezmax starting there would travel the shorter distance to the Middle East to pick up crude.

The length of the trip and cost of Panama Canal transit suggest that Gungen secured a relatively high freight rate for transporting the cargo, similar to other shipowners that have profited from taking post-sanctions Venezuelan crude cargoes.

The second tanker, the Ottoman Nobility , loaded a similarly sized cargo in Amuay on 23 March, and is currently waiting to transit the Bosphorus strait into the Black Sea.

A third Gungen-owned ship, the Ottoman Tenacity , is sitting empty outside Amuay.

Other shipowners that are willing to carry Venezuelan cargoes are primarily based in Greece, China and India, said US shipbrokers.

Turkey is among the main countries that continue to recognize the presidency of Nicolas Maduro, and Turkish companies have a number of joint ventures with Venezuelan entities. Maduro´s other international allies are Russia, China and Cuba.

Most western countries recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president.




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