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Reliance says it is not breaching US sanctions against Venezuela

April 15/2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India's Reliance Industries , operator of the world's largest oil refining complex, has issued a statement that it was not breaching US sanctions against Venezuela, reported Reuters.

The company said that its recent fuel exports to Venezuela were agreed before Washington imposed sanctions in January, and that they were meant to settle Reliance's crude oil imports from Venezuela. The company added that, it has been in "continuous communication with the US Department of State regarding its activities in Venezuela" since the imposition of sanctions.

The Reliance statement came a day after Reuters reported that the conglomerate is selling fuels to Venezuela from India and Europe to sidestep sanctions that bar US-based companies from dealing with state-run PDVSA, according to trading sources and Refinitiv Eikon data.

"Reliance's few transportation fuel shipments to Venezuela, treated as offsets for crude oil receipts, were committed and in-transit when there were no specific restrictions to such transactions. They were all fuels refined in India," it said in a statement.

Reliance had been supplying alkylate, diluent naphtha and other fuel to Venezuela through its US-based subsidiary before Washington imposed the sanctions aimed at curbing the OPEC member's oil exports and ousting Socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Reliance, the Indian conglomerate controlled by billionaire businessman Mukesh Ambani, has significant exposure to the financial system of the United States, where it operates subsidiaries linked to its oil and telecom businesses, among others.

Additional sanctions against Venezuela are possible in the future, as US President Donald Trump's administration has not yet tried to prevent companies based outside the United States from buying Venezuelan oil.

Reliance said it had been transparent with U.S. authorities and provided detailed feedback to Washington as they were formulating and adjusting policy regarding product shipments to Venezuela.

"Reliance not only has complied with US sanctions laws, but also has done its best to adjust its dealings with Venezuela on a voluntary basis to reflect the ongoing changes in US policy," the statement added.

Reliance reiterated that it has stopped shipments of diluent naphtha to Venezuela, and has reduced its purchases of Venezuelan crude oil to well below its contracted levels.

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.

We remind that, as MRC wrote before, in late February 2019, Saudi Aramcos Chief Executive Officer Amin Nassar said that the company is in talks with Indias Reliance Industries Ltd for possible investments and is seeking other opportunities in the country.

Reliance Industries is one of the world's largest producers of polymers. The company produces polypropylene, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride and other petrochemical products.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:crude and gaz condensate, petrochemistry, Reliance Industries, Saudi Aramco, Venezuela, India, USA.
Category:General News
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