Preventing the flow of Venezuelan oil to its ally Cuba would possibly show harder than the United State assumed. Tankers are being renamed and vessels are switching off their transponders to sail beneath the radar of the United State government. The vessel Ocean Elegance, an oil tanker that has been delivering Venezuelan crude to Cuba for the past 3
years, was renamed Oceano after being sanctioned in May. The ship S-Trotter, another one that’s on the sanctions list, is now generally known as Tropic Sea, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.
The oil tanker Nedas, after being sanctioned in April, made a delivery to Cuba incognito as a result of it turned off its satellite tracking system. It went unaccounted for 42 days, however, shipping reports show that it delivered oil to Cuba. After the ghost supply, it discreetly changed its name to Esperanza. The Nedas/Esperanza has delivered 2 MMbbl of crude to Cuba this year, based on shipping reports.
Halting the flow between the two countries could show difficult. There are over 4,500 crude oil tankers in operation globally, and state oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela SA additionally uses oil products vessels, including to the complexity of the task. However, the U.S. continues to focus on shipments between the two nations and aims to close loopholes in sanctions, based on a senior U.S. administration official. The aim is to surgically and methodically cut off funds to the regime of President Nicolas Maduro.
Cuba imports Venezuelan crude for its refineries and fuel oil to run its power plants and generate electricity. The supply of Venezuelan oil was agreed on a handshake between former presidents Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro and later memorialized in the contract. Shipments to Cuba peaked at 103,000 bpd in 2009 and have been dwindling over the years, based on data revealed by PDVSA. Volumes slumped to 35,177 bpd in the first half of 2019, amid decrease production and sanctions, data compiled by Bloomberg show.