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Doctored and Rebranded Oil Blacklisted by U.S. Winds Up in China

  • With chemical additives, Hamaca crude becomes “Singma Blend”
  • Origins erased, rebranded cargo is sold to Chinese buyers
Bloomberg business news
Watch: Millions of barrels of Venezuelan heavy crude, which are embargoed by the U.S., have been surreptitiously going to China. (Source: Bloomberg)
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It may be the oil market’s worst-kept secret: Millions of barrels of Venezuelan heavy crude, embargoed by the U.S., have been surreptitiously going to China.

The cat-and-mouse games that avoid detection and sanctions include ship-to-ship transfers, shell companies and silenced satellite signals. But there’s another aspect to the dodge. It involves “doping” the oil with chemical additives and changing its name in the paperwork so it can be sold as a wholly different crude without a trace of its Venezuelan roots.