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Venezuela Keeps Oil Exports Stable In April

Curacao oil tanker

Despite an escalating situation in Venezuela, oil exports from the country remained perhaps surprisingly stable in April, at an average daily rate of 1.06 million barrels, Reuters reports, citing its own shipping and trading data.

Shipments of Venezuelan crude to China increased during last month, as did cargoes bound for India. The flow of oil from Venezuela to Cuba continued despite attempts by the opposition to put a stop to these.

China took in about a third of the total, at 337,000 bpd, with India importing 27 percent, and Europe a tenth of the total.

Reuters notes, though, that this month things may change, as exports to the US fall even further. The only reason they haven’t already seems to be the grace period Washington gave U.S. importers of Venezuelan crude to wrap up their business with state-owned PDVSA. The deadline for this wrap up was April 28.

According to Reuters data and company documents, the PDVSA loadings program for May was sparse, but shipments for China and Cuba, as well as Russia will in all likelihood continue. Venezuela is repaying Chinese and Russian loans with crude.

Venezuela’s exports plummeted by 40 percent in February, after a month earlier the U.S. imposed the toughest sanctions yet on Caracas, targeting specifically PDVSA. Since then, however, they have stabilized around 1 million bpd. Stockpiles, meanwhile, have declined by 3.8 million barrels as PDVSA’s production continues to fall. To date, Venezuela’s crude oil inventories stand at around 32 million barrels, according to Kpler data.

Meanwhile, Juan Guaido’s opposition’s attempts to topple Nicolas Maduro’s government continue. Despite his repeated calls for more protests and striking across the country, and an attempt at a military coup earlier this week, the situation remains unchanged, bar the rising violence during the protests and counter-protests organized by the government. Many consider the army the key to a regime change in Venezuela. For now, it appears to remain loyal to Maduro.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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