Supertankers, Chevron Cargos fuel Venezuela’s oil exports Ship’s crew

By Marianna Parraga and Mircely Guanipa

HOUSTON/PUNTO FIJO, Venezuela, April 4 (Reuters) – Venezuela’s oil exports rose to their highest monthly average since August in March, buoyed by a resumption of shipments after an export freeze and rising shipments allocated to Chevron Corp, according to documents and shipping dates.

State-owned oil company PDVSA resumed two export deals after a freeze on new chief Pedro Tellechea in January: a medium-term deal with Hangzhou Energy and another with Portugal-based Adinius Sociedade de Servicios, the documents showed.

These two customers accounted for the bulk of exports, a sign that PDVSA is consolidating deals it had with dozens of little-known firms responsible for the Billions of dollars lost due to failed payments in fewer agreements.

Oil swaps with Chevron, Cuban state-owned Cubametales and Iran’s Naftiran Intertrade Co (NICO) — and most exports of oil by-products — continued uninterrupted during the freeze.

PDVSA and its joint ventures shipped a total of 774,420 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and fuel in March, mostly to China, a rebound from the previous two months’ low numbers, the documents and data showed.

Eight very large crude oil carriers (VLCC) set sail from Venezuelan ports, easing a tanker shortage that had been developing since early 2023.

Chevron received and exported about 115,000 bpd of Venezuelan heavy crude to the US, up from about 80,000 bpd in February.

PDVSA and the Venezuelan Oil Ministry did not respond to a request for comment. Hangzhou Energy and Adinius Sociedade de Servicios could not be reached for comment.

An Iranian supertanker, the Starfish III, arrived in Venezuelan waters over the weekend with 2.1 million barrels of condensate to dilute PDVSA’s oil, according to monitoring firm TankerTrackers.com. The vessel, owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company, had its tracker offline since February when it set sail from Assaluyeh.

Venezuela also exported 276,000 tons of oil by-products, down from 347,000 tons in the previous month and from 727,000 tons in January as shipments of petroleum coke fell.

As part of an expanded review of its supply contracts, PDVSA is reviewing the Geneva-based company’s accounts Maroil trade, owned by Venezuelan shipping magnate Wilmer Ruperti, over outstanding debts from petcoke shipments. Ruperti said last week the situation was “resolved”.

All of the treaty revisions are part of a widespread anti-corruption probe that has led to the arrests of more than 40 officials and businessmen, according to Venezuela’s Attorney General’s Office. Powerful oil minister Tareck El Aissami resigned last month amid investigations.

(Reporting by Marianna Parraga in Houston, Venezuela; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Marguerita Choy)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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