By Arathy Somasekhar and Marianna Parraga
HOUSTON, April 28 (Reuters) – Chevron Corp has increased sales of Venezuelan crude to rival US refiners, adding PBF Energy Inc and Marathon Petroleum Corp to its list of customers for the crude, vessel tracking and load plans.
Refiners along the US Gulf Coast, traditionally processing Venezuelan oil, have shown renewed appetite for the heavy sour crude variety after Chevron received approval from the US Treasury late last year to expand its operations in Venezuela and cut oil shipments to the US after four years to resume -year hiatus.
Chevron, the last major US oil producer still operating in US-sanctioned Venezuela, has increased exports of the crude since January.
So far in April it has loaded about 148,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) at Venezuelan ports, with the cargo going to at least three other US refineries in addition to Chevron’s own refinery.
In mid-April, Chevron sold about 550,000 barrels of Venezuelan crude to PBF for its 185,000 bpd Chalmette refinery near New Orleans, U.S. tariff data from Refinitiv Eikon showed.
Another 500,000 barrels were loaded this week at Venezuela’s Jose Terminal for delivery to Garyville, Louisiana, according to state oil company PDVSA’s loading schedules.
Marathon Petroleum owns and operates the 596,000 bpd Garyville Refinery.
PBF and Marathon did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Chevron said it conducts its business in compliance with all laws, regulations and a sanctions framework provided by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Valero Energy Corp has also received cargoes from Chevron with the tanker Caribbean Voyager, which discharged about 500,000 barrels at its 340,000 bpd refinery in St. Charles, Louisiana on Thursday.
The leading independent refiner did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Gary Simmons, its chief commercial officer, said in an earnings call on Thursday that Venezuelan production is expected to rise and help alleviate scarce supplies of heavy sour crude.
Chevron has shipped Venezuelan crude to its 369,000 bpd refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and this month a cargo to an oil storage terminal in the Bahamas, PDVSA schedules showed.
(Reporting by Arathy Somasekhar and Marianna Parraga in Houston, editing by Marguerita Choy)
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