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NK Rosneft' : China CNPC skips Venezuelan oil loading for second month - sources

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09/10/2019 | 11:42am EDT
People visit a booth of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) at the Smart China Expo in Chongqing

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), a leading buyer of Venezuelan oil, will skip cargo loadings for a second month in September as the state oil giant looks to avoid breaching U.S. sanctions, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

CNPC made a surprise halt last month in loading Venezuelan oil after the Trump administration in early August froze Venezuelan government assets in the United States and officials warned companies against dealing with Venezuela's state-run oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., or PDVSA.

"CNPC at the group level has made it clear not to load Venezuelan oil," said one source with direct knowledge of CNPC's position on Monday, without giving a timeline on how long the suspension would last.

But Venezuelan oil is still arriving in China via other means.

Russian state oil major Rosneft has become the main trader of Venezuelan crude, shipping oil to other buyers, including China, and helping Caracas offset the loss of traditional dealers who are avoiding it for fear of breaching U.S. sanctions, Reuters reported last month.

Chinese customs data showed China's direct imports of Venezuelan crude plunged 40% in July to just over 700,000 tonnes, the lowest monthly amount in nearly five years. But a growing number of cargoes of Venezuelan crude are being sent to China by intermediaries, mostly Rosneft, often from Asian transhipment hubs like Linggi and Tianjung.

China has been the largest importer of Venezuelan crude since Washington slapped sanctions on PDVSA in January. The United States had previously been the largest customer.

A separate senior Chinese industry source said last month that CNPC interpreted the Trump administration's executive order as a potential prelude for more extensive sanction measures that could potentially hit CNPC as a leading oil client of Caracas.

CNPC declined to comment.

A PDVSA crude oil loading programme seen by Reuters confirms that so far no CNPC cargoes are planned for this month.

PDVSA did not respond to a request for comment.

The executive order President Donald Trump issued on Aug. 5 threatens to freeze U.S. assets of any person or company determined to have "materially assisted" the Venezuelan government.

Other Chinese crude oil buyers have also been warned on making Venezuelan purchases at a recent meeting between the National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC), China's state planner, and about six independent refineries, according to a source who was briefed on the meeting.

"At the meeting NDRC told these plants, which process (Venezuelan crude) Merey to make bitumen, that there will not be supplies from CNPC and that they should look for replacements to maintain production," said the source.

NDRC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Additional reporting by Marianna Parraga in MEXICO CITY and Luc Cohen in Caracas; editing by Richard Pullin and Dan Grebler)

By Chen Aizhu

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
NK ROSNEFT' PAO End-of-day quote.
PETROCHINA COMPANY 0.47% 6.38 End-of-day quote.-11.93%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2019 127 B
EBIT 2019 19 510 M
Net income 2019 10 319 M
Debt 2019 60 610 M
Yield 2019 6,88%
P/E ratio 2019 6,63x
P/E ratio 2020 5,65x
EV / Sales2019 0,49x
EV / Sales2020 0,41x
Capitalization 1 094 M
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Average target price 8,51  $
Last Close Price 6,69  $
Spread / Highest target 53,9%
Spread / Average Target 27,2%
Spread / Lowest Target 4,62%
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NameTitle
Igor Ivanovich Sechin Chairman-Management Board & Vice Chairman
Gerhard Schroeder Chairman
Petr Ivanovich Lazarev Finance Director
Valeriy Vladimirovich Nikitin Director-Information Technology
Artur Matthias Warnig Deputy Chairman
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1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
NK ROSNEFT' PAO70 033
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PETROCHINA COMPANY-11.93%156 873
TOTAL7.15%140 819
PETROLEO BRASILEIRO SA PETROBRAS20.33%90 354
GAZPROM PAO (EDR)60.67%79 634