Venezuela’s oil exports drop as heavy crude processing sags, stocks drain
Venezuela’s oil exports fell 14% in May from the previous month as crude upgraders at its main oil region produced less exportable grades and state-run oil firm PDVSA struggled to replenish inventories, according to shipping data and documents.
PDVSA is under a widespread anti-corruption probe that uncovered billions of dollars in unpaid cargoes and led to a temporary suspension of some contracts. The investigation has led to more that 60 people arrested and a management overhaul.
In May, PDVSA and its joint ventures shipped an average of 606,258 barrels per day (bpd) of crude and refined products, below the prior two months, but higher than the first two months of the year when the contract suspension halted some exports, data based on vessel tracking showed.
PDVSA and other state companies separately exported some 209,000 metric tonnes of methanol, urea and petroleum coke, the lowest amount so far this year.
U.S.-based oil major Chevron Corp, which has ramped up exports of Venezuelan crude since receiving a U.S. authorization in November, shipped some 149,000 bpd last month to the United States and to a storage terminal in the Bahamas. In April, it had exported about 141,000 bpd.
PDVSA also increased its deliveries of crude and fuel to political ally Cuba, to 58,100 bpd in May from 45,250 bpd in April, data and internal company documents showed.
Venezuela’s stocks of flagship Merey 16 heavy crude fell to 1.2 million barrels at the end of May from 1.89 million barrels the previous month. Inventories of lighter domestic crudes for diluting the Orinoco Belt’s extra heavy output declined 44% to 930,000 barrels in that period, according to one of the documents.
The crude oil upgrader at the PDVSA-Chevron Petropiar joint venture ended last month producing some 80,000 bpd of upgraded crude versus 90,000 bpd at the end of April, the document added.
A 2.1 million-barrel cargo of Iranian condensate arrived in Venezuelan waters at the beginning of May, but the vessel had not discharged by month-end, according to TankerTrackers.com.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Marianna Parraga in Houston and Mircely Guanipa in Maracay, Venezuela Editing by Frances Kerry)