Caracas announced that the fuel-hungry Latin American country is mulling imports of more gasoline and other oil products from Iran.
The announcement came after Venezuela received five shipments of fuel from Iran in the face of US sanctions.
“Tehran yesterday offered to supply Venezuela with more gasoline and refinery additives. President Maduro very likely will accept the offer because we need the fuel,” an official at Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s office was qouted by price reporting agency Argus Media.
Other officials said the government will ask Iran for further supplies in coming weeks to give state-run oil company PDVSA more time to revive part of its refining capacity.
Maduro said on Tuesday he would visit Iran once health conditions resulting from the new coronavirus outbreak permit in order to thank the Iranian government and sign a “high-level bilateral agreement strengthening energy, financial and military ties”.
“I am obliged to go to personally thank the people,” Maduro said in a state television address, without providing a date for the visit.
The fifth ship of Iran’s fuel-carrying flotilla, Clavel, arrived in Venezuela’s territorial waters on Monday, while two others are on the way back home after unloading their cargoes.
The fifth of the Iranian flotilla, carrying gasoline and gasoline products to Venezuela, successfully arrived in the Venezuelan waters on Monday and was escorted by the Latin American state’s Armed Forces, a Telesur TV reporter wrote on his twitter page.
Meantime, tankers tracking websites reported that two of the five Iranian tankers, Fortune and Forest, which had earlier berthed at the Venezuelan ports have left the country towards Iran.
Iran’s fourth tanker carrying fuel to Venezuela had entered the Latin American country’s special economic zone on May 28.
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.
Four of the vessels, Fortune, Forest and Petunia, have already reached Venezuela under military escort.
The fourth tanker Faxon arrived in the Caribbean Sea last week and in Venezuela’s special economic zone last Thursday.
Iran’s fuel supply to Venezuela has sharply irked the US as the oil sectors of both countries are subject to draconian American sanctions.
A US official said last month that President Donald Trump’s administration was considering responses, prompting Tehran to warn of retaliatory measures if Washington causes any problem for the tankers.
Last month, President Rouhani said his country is always entitled to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and warned that if his country’s oil tankers in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world get into trouble by the Americans, Tehran will definitely retaliate.
“Although some of the US measures have created unacceptable conditions in different parts of the world, we will not be the initiator of tension and clash,” Rouhani said in a phone call with the Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Referring to the American moves in the Caribbean, he reiterated, “If our oil tankers face problems in the Caribbean Sea or anywhere in the world by the Americans, they will face problems reciprocally.”
We see the conditions today more apt for cooperation, especially given the outbreak of this disease; but the US continues its incorrect decisions and inhumane behaviors, the president noted.
He made it clear, “As before, we stress that the security of our region, particularly the marine security, is maintained by the regional countries and we have always announced that we are ready for cooperation with the neighboring countries.”