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Export of crude oil from Venezuela to the United States (US) plummeted by 23 percent in October, according to Thomson Reuters trade flows data published on Thursday.
The US, which is one of Venezuela’s top export partners for oil, received 37 cargo shipments of crude in October. This amount is nine fewer cargo shipments than were obtained in September, and thirteen fewer than the total received in October 2015.
The primary recipients of Venezuela crude last month where Chevron, Phillips 66, and Citgo Petroleum, the latter of which is the refining unit for Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA. Conversely, refining firm Valero Energy continued suffering a decline in crude shipments from PDVSA despite serving as a large importer of Venezuelan oil in recent years.
Venezuelan oil exports have fallen mainly due to a drop in shipments of diluted crude oil last month to its lowest level since 2015. Only 85,840 barrels per day of Venezuelan extra heavy oil and imported naphtha were shipped out last month.
Oil makes up around 95 percent of Venezuela’s export revenue, but product sent abroad has dipped sharply this year due to factors like underinvestment, payment delays to suppliers, and insufficient diluents to make exportable crude blends. Lowered exports are just one of several woes facing a weakened Venezuelan oil sector that has helped to severely weaken the national economy and exacerbate deep political tensions.
The drop in oil exports from Venezuela has affected other countries in the Americas such as Cuba, which slashed production at its Cienfuegos refinery that is jointly run with PDVSA due to the decrease in shipments.
By Erwin Cifuentes for Oilprice.com
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Erwin Cifuentes is a Contributing Editor for Southern Pulse Info where he focuses on politics, economics and security issues in Latin America and the Caribbean.…