It should also be noted that Chavez's trade with China in the oil business may increase shipping costs:
Chavez’s pledge to increase oil sales to China could boost supertanker rates because the longer voyage means fewer ships will be available, London-based Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd said in a report.Oh, yes, Chavez also says that he has "total control" over several offshore oil projects...see here.
China may boost oil purchases from Venezuela to 300,000bpd by the end of the year from about 12,000bpd in 2004, Venezuelan Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said on January. 31.
Most of the oil will be shipped on supertankers, or very large crude carriers, designed to carry 2mn-barrel cargoes on long-haul voyages.
“With Venezuela taking decisive steps of turning away oil exports from the US and moving them towards China,’’ ships engaged in longer-haul voyages will be unavailable for rehire for a longer period, the report said. Supertanker rates have fallen for the past two years.
In 2004, a tanker hauling a cargo from the Arabian Gulf to Japan, a benchmark voyage, earned $95,258 per day, according to information compiled by Drewry Shipping. Last year that fell by 38% to $59,058. Drewry expects declines until 2009.
Venezuela would require one VLCC per week if it manages to supply China with 300,000bpd. According to Drewry Shipping, there are 492 VLCCs in the global fleet, with 119 to be built by 2009.
Venezuela’s state oil company said it may spend $1.3bn on tankers from China. Preliminary orders for 18 tankers were placed with China State Shipbuilding Corp and China Shipbuilding Industry Corp, a Petroleos de Venezuela spokesman said. (source)