November 29, 2011 / 6:23 PM / 8 years ago

Vitol sends fuel oil to Syria-traders

LONDON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Trading house Vitol has agreed to sell fuel oil to Syria’s increasingly isolated government, and the shipment will likely be used to run the country’s power stations, traders said on Tuesday.

The Theodorus IV was due to reach the port of Banias with a cargo of fuel oil on Sunday, chartered by the Swiss-based trading house, according to traders and shiptracking data.

Vitol declined to comment. Supplying Syria with refined oil is legal as the European Union (EU) stopped short of banning deliveries for humanitarian reasons.

The fuel oil delivery follows a stream of heating oil shipments from rival trader AOT Trading AG, which has consistently provided Syria with crucial fuel supplies needed to keep homes warm this winter.

The shipments from AOT have come as a surprise to some of Europe’s largest trading houses that have abandoned trade with Syria due to complications over payment and worries about associating with its government.

Heating oil deliveries have also been steady from BB Energy, a trader active in the Mediterranean, and other smaller traders operating out of Cyprus and Lebanon, according to traders.

Syria faces growing economic sanctions and condemnation over what the United Nations calls “gross human rights violations,” but President Bashar al-Assad shows no sign of buckling under pressure to end his military crackdown on popular unrest. (Reporting by Jessica Donati; editing by James Jukwey)

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