Event News
Added Dec 9, 2020

Event highlights: Maritime trading & risk analysis in a volatile market

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On 9th December, expert analysts from Vortexa, Windward AIS behavioural data and C4ADS came together to discuss the impact of trade sanctions on oil and shipping markets. In today’s world, sanctions carry far reaching effects that extend beyond the specific entities they target, such as hindering trade flows and triggering geopolitical ramifications. 

Our presenters, Arthur Richier (Vortexa), Michael Horwitz (Windward) and Sofia Vargas (C4ADS) explored the need to actively assess the risk of dynamic sanctions and regulatory environments across the oil supply chain in today’s globalised maritime ecosystem. 

The webinar focused on three critical areas, including: 

  • US sanctions on the Venezuelan oil sector
  • The interwoven global tanker trade
  • Key messages & outlook

Watch the full webinar below to discover what challenges need to be overcome to successfully navigate today’s choppy sanctioned waters.

Watch on demand


Core takeaways from the session: 
US sanctions on the Venezuelan oil sector

  • In January 2019 an existing Executive Order authorizing blocking sanctions on personas operating in the Venezuelan gold sector was expanded to cover the oil sector and PDVSA was designated with a number of vessels and registered owners specifically designated by OFAC.
  • AIS data from Windward and corporate data from IHS Markit was structured within Palantir Gotham and Foundry to run analysis and discover trends of behaviours in vessels active in Venezuelan waters, before and after the imposed sanctions. 
The results of this are: 
  • The number of vessels openly making port calls decreased significantly after the US imposed sanctions
  • The number of unique vessels operating & port calls being made with AIS turned on also significantly dropped
  • Collectively, there was a 46% drop in port calls over 20 ports by tanker vessels in Venezuela
Interwoven global tanker trade

  • In the past year, 218 tankers were involved in Venezuela-related crude and/or refined products cargo movements, according to Vortexa
  • Windward insights show that close to 80% of this fleet had at least one Dark Activity in this timeframe
  • Venezuelan oil trade is global. Ship owners and managers hail from 88 countries, the oil flows from 28 countries and the companies transporting and trading are all an integral part of the global oil flows. 
  • The ‘dark trade’ areas and the concentrated high risk areas, including Eastern Mediterranean, the Gulf and Malaysia. 80% had at least one event with many repeat offenders, 1.6x when compared with the global tanker fleet.
  • The majority of high risk vessels do not have port call, less than 10% are on the sanctions list and only 1 out of 5 tankers passing through Venezuelan waters take on cargo.
  • 2.5x have STS meetings in Malaysian waters. AIS manipulation hides some STS transfers and multiple transfers create ‘oil laundering’.
  • Taking into account Ship to Ship activities,  analysis reveals that there may be 3x as many tankers also involved in trading with Venezuela, in addition to those that have gone there in the past year
  • This means that given a global tanker fleet size of approximately 9,000 tankers, close to 10% of the global fleet could potentially be associated with the transport of Venezuelan cargoes.
Key messages and outlook

  • US sanctions: an oil and maritime sector in the crosshairs. Sanctions against Venezuela, contrary to Iran or DPKR for example, have not led to its isolation from the global economy.
  • Venezuela flows: an integral part of global volumes. Companies may be indirectly involved and not aware of the risks they are exposed to, with data and insights needed to make sense of false positives and hidden risks. 
Read the Vortexa | Windward report discussed in the webinar here and to read the special report from C4ADS, head to their website.
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