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Venezuela begins imports of Iranian heavy oil for refining -PDVSA documents

Venezuela has begun importing Iranian heavy crude to feed its domestic refineries, documents from the state-run oil company PDVSA showed, a deal that widens a swap agreement signed last year by the U.S. sanctioned countries.

The two last year initially agreed to a swap deal, with PDVSA importing Iranian condensate to dilute and process its extra heavy oil for export. In return, Venezuelan crude was shipped via the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

Iran’s heavy crude, which is similar in quality to Venezuela’s Mesa 30 crude, is set to augment domestic oil fed to PDVSA’s refineries. Venezuela also in recent years received Iranian parts and equipment to revamped its refineries.

At least 200,000 barrels of Iranian heavy crude were delivered in mid-April to the 310,000-barrel per day (bpd) Cardon refinery, Venezuela’s second largest, while another 400,000-barrel parcel of the Iranian oil is being discharged this week at the country’s Jose port, the documents showed.

The Middle Eastern country also recently sent condensate to Venezuela on Iran flagged tankers.

As its domestic oil output became heavier, Venezuela in recent years struggled to source medium and light grades for its refineries, contributing to limited production and intermittent scarcity of motor fuels.

The South American country’s heavy oil output also increasingly needs lighter crudes or refined products to be used as diluents so it can produce exportable grades.

Iran’s Oil Minister Javad Owji traveled to Venezuela last week to meet President Nicolas Maduro and discuss trade agreements with his counterpart, Tareck El Aissami.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Marianna Parraga)

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