Venezuela exported more than 715,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude and refined petroleum products in June, up by 8% from May, as state oil firm PDVSA renewed contracts and signed new deals and an extra heavy crude processing unit restarted operations after six months.
Venezuela’s oil exports have been rising over the past three months after a government audit of oil contracts over unpaid oil purchase bills halted many cargoes early this year. The audits took place after Nicolas Maduro ordered them at the end of last year in a probe into corruption and into billions of missing payments from oil exports.
As more contracts were renewed and new deals signed, Venezuela exported 715,933 bpd of crude and refined products on 37 cargoes in June, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing shipping data and PDVSA documents its reporters had seen.
For the first half of 2023, Venezuelan oil exports were nearly 15% higher on average compared to the same period last year, and stood at an average of 670,000 bpd, according to the data and documents.
The biggest buyer of Venezuelan oil in June was China, as usual, either directly or via transshipments in Malaysia. Iran also received several cargoes under a swap deal it has with Venezuela, with both countries under U.S. sanctions on their exports. Iran received Venezuelan crude and fuel oil, while Venezuela imported Iranian condensate.
Apart from the faster cargo sales after the initial halt to exports due to the audit, Venezuela has also restarted an extra heavy crude upgrader, operated by PDVSA and Russian state oil firm Roszarubezhneft, which further boosted the amount of crude available for exports. The upgrader, with a capacity of 150,000 bpd, resumed operations in the middle of June, after a fire in December had badly damaged it, according to one of PDVSA’s documents Reuters has seen.
Higher exports from Venezuela have added to increased exports from Iran and still resilient shipments from Russia – all three under sanctions – to soften the balance on the global oil market.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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