India's Reliance says not breaching U.S. sanctions against Venezuela

India’s Reliance says not breaching U.S. sanctions against Venezuela

Reliance Industries (RIL) on Friday said it has never sidestepped U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and has completely stopped supplying fuel to the Latin American nation.

RIL was supplying diluent naphtha and other fuels to Venezuela before the USA sanctions against the country, meant to curb its oil trade and warn its president Nicolas Maduro.

Citing trading sources and Refinitiv Eikon data, a media report earlier claimed at least three vessels chartered by RIL supplied refined products to Venezuela recently and are expected to deliver gasoil too in another vessel.

"Reliance will continue its transactions in full compliance of prevailing sanctions", the company added.

It also shipped a gasoline cargo using tanker Torm Troilus to Venezuela and is preparing to send 35,000 tonnes of gasoil in a vessel called Vukovar to the South American nation.

The company denied reports that it was sidestepping on the sanctions by selling fuels to Venezuela from India and Europe.

According to officials here familiar with ongoing negotiations, India has reduced crude oil purchase from Iran since the United States administration imposed sanctions on Iran, but is seeking an extension of exemptions granted earlier to maintain its current lower level of 1.25-million tons a month crude purchase from the Persian Gulf nation.

Reliance said it had been transparent with us authorities and provided detailed feedback to Washington as they were formulating and adjusting policy regarding product shipments to Venezuela. Shipments have been on a steady downtrend since late January when the Trump Administration announced new sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company.

India is negotiating with the United States for exemptions from "extended sanctions" to maintain its current level of crude oil imports from Iran, but the country is also under pressure from the United States administration to halt all crude purchase from Venezuela. In 2012, Reliance signed a 15-year deal to buy between 300,000 to 400,000 bpd of heavy crude from PDVSA. Ship tracking data show that Reliance's average purchases from Venezuela were less than 300,000 bpd in 2018 and in the first two months of this year. They were all fuels refined in India.

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