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ExxonMobil last week banned the use of vessels linked to oil from Venezuela in the last year, four people familiar with the matter told Reuters, putting new pressure on the U.S. sanctioned country and on global crude freight rates.

Washington has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Venezuela this year to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro, whose 2018 re-election has been dismissed by the U.S. and dozens of other countries as fake news, Kallanish Energy reports.

Some measures have led tanker operators to stop carrying crude oil for Venezuela's state-run PDVSA.

The decision by the oil supermajor to ban the Venezuela-linked tankers should affect about 250 vessels, two of the people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

ExxonMobil declined to comment. PDVSA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Over 25 foreign vessels reach Venezuelan ports per month, according to PDVSA and Refinitiv Eikon data, Reuters reported. Some are known to turn their transponders off to avoid detection with the tough U.S. sanctions targeting Venezuela's oil industry.

Average freight earnings for supertankers on the U.S.-China route jumped over $20,000 on Friday, to $87,625 a day, the highest level since ra....

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