Third Iranian fuel cargo approaches Venezuela’s economic zone

The Iranian-flagged oil tanker Fortune (pictured) arrived at the El Palito refinery in Puerto Cabello, in the northern state of Carabobo, Venezuela, on May 25. (AFP)
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Updated 26 May 2020

Third Iranian fuel cargo approaches Venezuela’s economic zone

  • Venezuela's oil minister thanked Iran for support during their domestic crisis
  • Mismanagement of their domestic energy industry has contributed toward Venezuelan reliance on gasoline imports

MARACAY: The third cargo of an Iranian tanker flotilla carrying fuel for gasoline-thirsty Venezuela was approaching the nation’s exclusive economic zone on Tuesday as the previous two were preparing to discharge, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.
The Iran-flagged tanker Petunia entered the Caribbean Sea on Monday after crossing the Atlantic Ocean, following the route taken in recent days by vessels Fortune and Forest.
The Fortune was welcomed at state-run PDVSA’s El Palito refinery by Venezuela’s oil minister, Tareck El Aissami, who thanked Iran for its support during the crisis, which has forced Venezuelans to wait in long lines for gasoline.
The deal has been criticized by the United States as both OPEC-member nations are under sanctions. A US official said earlier this month that President Donald Trump’s administration was considering responses to the shipment, prompting the Iranian government to warn Washington against any military action.
The vessels did not appear to encounter any interference during their journey.
The second tanker in the flotilla, the Forest, changed its destination to a port serving PDVSA’s Cardon refinery, where it was expected to dock on Tuesday, according to two sources and the Eikon data showing its trajectory.
As it receives the imports, which include gasoline and components for motor fuel production, PDVSA is working to recover a portion of the domestic refining capacity it has lost in recent years due to mismanagement, lack of qualified personnel and delayed maintenance due to limitations under the US sanctions.
The Venezuelan firm, whose nameplate refining capacity reaches 1.3 million barrels per day, increased crude processing for fuel production to about 215,000 bpd this month, from 110,000 bpd in March, according to sources and internal company data.


US to pay over $1bn for 100m doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

Updated 17 min 27 sec ago

US to pay over $1bn for 100m doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

  • The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J
  • This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country

WASHINGTON: The United States government will pay Johnson & Johnson over $1 billion for 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine, its latest such arrangement as the race to tame the pandemic intensifies, the drugmaker said on Wednesday.
It said it would deliver the vaccine to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on a not-for-profit basis to be used after approval or emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
J&J has already received $1 billion in funding from the US government — BARDA agreed in March to provide that money for the company to build manufacturing capacity for more than 1 billion doses of the experimental vaccine.
The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J. Including the first $1 billion deal with the USgovernment, the price would be slightly higher than the $19.50 per dose that the United States is paying for the vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and German biotech BioNTech SE.
The US government may also purchase an additional 200 million doses under a subsequent agreement. J&J did not disclose that deal’s value.
J&J plans to study a one- or two-dose regimen of the vaccine in parallel later this year. A single-shot regimen could allow more people to be vaccinated with the same number of doses and would sidestep issues around getting people to come back for their second dose.
This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country. Talks are underway with the European Union, but no deal has yet been reached.
J&J’s investigational vaccine is currently being tested on healthy volunteers in the United States and Belgium in an early-stage study.
There are currently no approved vaccines for COVID-19. More than 20 are in clinical trials.