Venezuela’s oil shipments to Cuba dropped by nearly 13 percent

Venezuela’s crude and fuel shipments to Cuba dropped by nearly 13 percent during the first semester of the year, according to PDVSA documents viewed by Reuters, which state that the fall in exports to the island in 2017 was mainly evidenced in crude sent to Cuban refineries, which was down by 21 percent to 42,310 barrels per day.

Overall, PDVSA sent an average 72,350 bpd to Cuba during the first half of 2017, nearly 13 percent less than last year during the same period, according to a PDVSA internal report, while last year Venezuela partially compensated for the shortfall in crude shipments by sending Cuba more refined products, but this year’s data showed that the amounts of fuel sent remained practically unchanged at around 30,040 bpd.

The drop in Venezuelan fuel imports provoked fuel and electricity shortages in Cuba, whose economy heavily depends on Venezuela under a series of bilateral cooperation agreements signed as of 2000, which was the starting point from which Cuba started to receive a significant amount of Venezuelan oil in recent years, and in exchange for this crude, La Habana has sent doctors and other services, such as sports trainers, to the South American nation.

The decline in oil shipments began back in 2008, when exports peaked at 115,000 bpd, due mainly to a drop in crude exports, but the precarious shape of Venezuelan refineries also affected fuel shipments this year, and in addition to rationing gasoline and electricity to its state-owned companies, Cuba has been striving to receive imports from other producers like Russia, which it had not done for over a decade.

In one of many recent shipments, tanker Ocean Quest, filled with Russian fuel, docked at the Habana port on July 9, where it has been waiting to discharge. The tanker came from Tuapse, a terminal operated by Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft, according to Reuters’ vessel monitoring data.

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