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PDVSA is looking to shift its oil exports to an alternate port, Reuters sources said on Friday, after Venezuela was forced to close Port Jose last weekend after a minor accident.
Shipments that were supposed to leave from Port Jose will now be sent from Puerto La Cruz, if all goes to the stated plan, with the maximum load per vessel equaling 500,000 barrels.
Last weekend, a Greek-flagged tanker carrying heavy naphtha from the United States struck the South dock at the Venezuelan port of Jose, and the collision led to the shutting of the South dock. The closure has been limiting PDVSA’s capacity to export crude oil and import diluents to blend with its heavy oil. The closure had reportedly delayed 5 million barrels of Venezuelan crude oil to Russia’s Rosneft, piling onto the multiple woes that Venezuela’s oil industry is feeling as the country falls deeper into the economic abyss. There were also delays in crude oil loadings to Valero Energy and Chevron Corp.
Venezuela has an agreement to ship crude oil in the amount of 4 million barrels monthly to Rosneft, according to Reuters.
While oil exports may be rerouted to a usable port, the reduced load per vessel is bound to cause traffic jams, as Venezuela had previously asked its customers to bring larger vessels to Port Jose that could carry 1 million barrels to reduce its backlog.
PDVSA claimed earlier in the week that it signed a US$430 million joint service agreement with seven companies to help it increase its failing crude oil production by 641,000 barrels per day, with Oil Minister Manual Quevedo saying that it was “the beginning of a new era at PDVSA.”
After months of steady declines, a Reuter’s survey on Friday estimated that Venezuela’s production had fallen again, to 1.38 million bpd in August from 1.42 million bpd in July.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.