Venezuela Defies Sanctions – Oil Exports Stable in March

(TELESUR) – PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-run energy company, managed to keep oil exports at around 1 million barrels per day, defying U.S. sanctions and attacks on its electrical grid system which crippled its main export terminal. This is according to documents released by PDVSA and Refinitiv Eikon data.

Exports in March stabilized after sales fell by around 40 percent in February following economic sanctions by the United States. The idea behind the sanctions was to cut Venezuela off its main source of revenue. Without much success, the U.S. is now looking into secondary sanctions to target any foreign firms that are conducting business directly with PDVSA.

March’s exports of 980,355 barrels per day (bpd) of crude and fuel were only slightly below February’s shipments of 990,215 bpd, with most shipments destined to the Asian market. Until the sanctions, the United States was Venezuela’s largest crude buyer.

Cargoes sent to India, China and Singapore – a hub for storage and re-exports – made up 74 percent of total exports in March, compared with almost 70 percent in February.

Meanwhile, exports for Europe dropped by 5 percent, from 22 percent to 17 percent in March.

India was once again Venezuela’s main destination for exports in March, with a third of total cargoes sent to refineries operated by Reliance Industries and Nayara Energy.

U.S. imports of Venezuelan oil have dropped to zero since mid-March due to sanctions, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The largest individual recipient of Venezuelan barrels last month was China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and its subsidiaries with some 234,000 bpd, followed by Russia’s Rosneft, which received 214,000 bpd, according to the data. New customers including trading firms Sahara Energy and MS International also received access to Venezuelan crude.

Rosneft has increased its share of Venezuelan oil shipments since the sanctions, mainly for reselling to refiners. Venezuela’s oil minister, Manuel Quevedo, last month traveled to Moscow to negotiate larger sales of Venezuelan oil to Russian companies.

Rosneft has also boosted fuel supplies to Venezuela, according to the data. Venezuela imported 184,500 bpd of fuel last month, with the largest portion provided by the Russian company, followed by cargoes sent by Reliance and Spain’s Repsol.