Venezuelan Crude Exports Fall to 2019 Minimum

Venezuela’s oil exports in August fell to a minimum in 2019, damaged by the interruption of purchases by its second largest customer, CNPC of China, after the imposition of tougher sanctions by the United States, internal reports showed Tuesday and Refinitiv Eikon data.

Total shipments of crude and refined products from state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and its mixed companies decreased last month to about 770 thousand barrels per day (bpd), from 992 thousand 565 bpd in July and 1.13 million bpd in June, according to the revised data.

Last month, the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) canceled the Venezuelan crude charges it had scheduled for August.

The decision was made after Washington announced an executive order that froze all Venezuelan government property in US territory and warned foreign firms that could also face penalties for doing business with PDVSA.

The Venezuelan oil company is responsible for delivering oil to Chinese companies to pay billions of dollars in loans granted to Venezuela.

The United States has increased the pressure to achieve the exit of power of President Nicolás Maduro, whose rereading in 2018 was considered illegitimate by most of the western nations.

The drop in shipments occurred even when a greater number of shipments were transported in tankers that kept their signaling equipment turned off as they approached or left Venezuelan waters, according to Refinitiv Eikon vessel tracking data. This has made it difficult to measure exports and confirm delivery destinations.

Since the suspension, Russian state oil company Rosneft has increased its participation in Venezuelan oil exports, with China as its main destination. Rosneft took 65 percent of PDVSA shipments in August compared to 49 percent in July, according to PDVSA’s internal business reports.

PDVSA did not respond to a request for comment.

The second largest destination of Venezuelan oil last month was Europe, as Spanish oil company Repsol has continued to exchange refined products for Venezuelan crude.

The third recipient was Cuba, Maduro’s closest political ally. Shipments to India, previously a preferred market for Venezuelan crude, fell to a single shipment of 1 million barrels, the data showed.