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Venezuela exported 1.1 million bpd of crude oil and refined oil products in June, up by 26 percent from May, thanks to higher shipments under oil-for-loan deals with China, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing Refinitiv Eikon data and company records of Venezuela’s state oil firm PDVSA.
According to the oil company’s documents, China accounted for 59 percent of Venezuela’s oil shipments last month, with India and Singapore a distant second and third, with 18 percent and 10 percent of Venezuela’s oil exports, respectively.
In May, Venezuela’s oil exports had slumped by 17 percent on the month to 874,500 bpd as the country had shut down almost all of its upgraders.
Venezuela had to seriously reshuffle its crude oil and oil products export destinations earlier this year after the U.S. essentially prohibited Venezuelan oil imports to America.
The United States imposed sweeping sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry and PDVSA at the end of January to cut off a cash lifeline for Nicolas Maduro and his regime, after Washington recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate interim president of the Latin American country sitting on the world’s largest crude oil reserves.
Unable to export its crude oil to the United States—which didn’t import any crude oil from Venezuela in the week to March 15 for the first time ever since the EIA began tracking weekly U.S. crude oil imports—Venezuela is now prioritizing shipments to Asia, especially to China, with which it has struck oil-for-loan agreements and has to repay those with oil to China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).
While Venezuela’s oil exports to China averaged 233,000 bpd in February immediately after the U.S. sanctions cut off Venezuelan oil from the U.S. market, those exports nearly tripled to 656,000 bpd in June, according to the data. The U.S. didn’t import any crude oil from Venezuela last month, according to the data that Reuters has compiled.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.