India becomes top buyer of Venezuelan crude in February, imports jump 66%

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India is celebrating with Venezuelan oil, after the United States imposed a de facto ban on oil imports from the Latin American nation.

While the flows to the United States stopped, India became the main buyer of Venezuelan crude in the first half of February, with an increase in imports from 66 percent to 620,000 barrels per day. Indian refiners Reliance Industries and Nayara Energy, backed by Rosneft Oil Co PJSC, are driving momentum.

However, Venezuelan oil exports have plummeted since US President Donald Trump increased sanctions against the country’s oil company. Oil shipments, the product that finances the regime of embattled President Nicolas Maduro, fell to 1.12 million barrels per day in the first half of February, down 9.2 percent compared to the same period in January. No ship bound for the United States has left the Venezuelan ports at that time.

Seven Venezuelan oil-laden ships loaded for US refineries Valero Energy Corp and Chevron Corp have been stranded since the sanctions were announced on January 28, when Petroleos de Venezuela SA, state-owned, requires payment in advance of the charges .