Reliance Industries is selling fuel to Venezuela from India and Europe as part of an effort to circumvent US sanctions on its companies dealing with state-run PDVSA.
Sources said quoting data that Reliance had been supplying alkylate, diluent naphtha, and other fuel to Venezuela though its US-based subsidiary before Washington in late January imposed sanctions. The bar is for curbing Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil exports and ousting Venezuelan socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
Three vessels chartered by Mukesh Ambani's Reliance were reportedly said to have supplied refined products to Venezuela in recent weeks, and another vessel was set to sail soon. The vessels are said to have originated in India and passed through the Suez Canal. It is also said to be taking some products from the Rotterdam facility.
In recent statements, Reliance said its US unit had totally stopped all business with PDVSA. Reliance also halted all supply of diluents, including heavy naphtha to Venezuela and did not plan to resume such sales until sanctions were lifted, the statement added.
The Indian market is crucial for Venezuela's economy because it is seen as the second-largest cash-paying customer of OPEC members after the US. Reliance has quite significant exposure to the US financial system through its oil and telecom subsidiaries.
The exports come at a time when additional sanctions against Venezuela are in the air. US President Donald Trump is yet to block companies based outside the country, in a strategy called ‘secondary sanctions’, from dealing in Venezuelan oil.