Iran has sent five tankers loaded with 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and alkylate to Venezuela to help jump-start the oil refineries in the Latin American state amid a fuel crisis.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in a message termed the shipment of Iranian fuel to Venezuela as a sign of Tehran-Caracas solidarity.
Iranian fuel reaches Venezuelan stations as prices are set to rise.
Of 1,800 stations in Venezuela, about 240 have remained working since Maduro announced coronavirus-related lockdown measures in March, which included restrictions on fuel sales due to very low inventories.
More than 1,500 stations nationwide are expected to work in the coming days under the new system, which includes monthly quotas for vehicles and motorcycles, automated sales, and monitoring equipment. Despite the price increases, it will cost about $1 to fill a whole tank of a vehicle under the subsidy. After reaching the quotas, drivers will have to pay internationally indexed prices.
Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA began supplying the nation’s stations on Saturday with fuel provided by Iran.
As US sanctions imposed on PDVSA since 2019 have also limited the sources and types of products Venezuela can import, Maduro’s administration this year resorted to Iran for refining components and fuel.
The supply has been criticized by the United States as both nations are under sanctions.
Washington has warned governments, seaports, shipping firms and insurers that they could face sanctions if they aid the Iranian supply, U.S. special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, said on Friday.