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It seems that Venezuela’s oil exports are caught in a bit of a limbo. From our bird’s eye view, it is not entirely certain whether this is related to the recent sanctions on Rosneft or if it is due to the dampened demand in China due to the Coronavirus. We have identified 19 vessels carrying a total of 30.5 million barrels since December which haven’t announced a proper destination such as China or India, etc. A lot of it may say “Singapore”, but that tends to mean that they’re just going to transit the country or wait around in anchorage until given the green light to proceed. Some other shipments to “Singapore” did however end up at refineries in Malaysia or were transferred to other vessels that then took them on China.
Here’s the map of where all of these limbo tankers are currently located, and the earliest departure (on this map) took place in early December 2019. Of these 19 vessels, 14 of them are VLCC supertankers (2 million barrel capable), 2 are Suezmaxes (1 million barrel capable) and another 3 are Aframaxes (750K barrel capable). All in all, these 30,491,795 barrels are equivalent to a pretty good month of exports, and it seems that most of them won’t reach a destination for a good while even if they are bound for China. The ones that have come the farthest are now in a holding position north of Singapore, and not proceeding any further even after the oil was transferred to other vessels. The bulk of the idle vessels right now are located in the Strait of Malacca. They’re just sitting there in a cluster off the coast of Sungai Linggi.