June 13, 2020 / 12:40 AM / 21 days ago

Brazil's Petrobras says it will not hire oil tankers that visited Venezuela

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 12 (Reuters) - Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA has told shippers it will not hire any tankers that have visited Venezuela in the past 12 months, the state-controlled oil company said on Friday, signaling adherence to U.S. sanctions on the Latin American nation.

The United States this year blacklisted oil tankers and shipping companies over their dealings with Venezuela, seeking to drain oil revenues that sustain the rule of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Washington has said it could add to its sanctions list, a move that could disrupt sea-borne trade by sharply raising tanker rates.

"We have recently reinforced to our suppliers we would not accept offers from ships that had operated in Venezuela during the sanctions period (12 months)," the company said in an emailed response to Reuters.

Petrobras has added specific language to its shipping contracts to avoid hiring ships out of compliance with U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations, the Petrobras statement said.

Under President Jair Bolsonaro, who describes himself as an admirer of U.S. President Donald Trump, Brazil and its state-controlled oil producer have distanced themselves from Venezuela. (Reporting by Sabrina Valle; Editing by Will Dunham)

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