Oil and Gas

Venezuelan crude sales to U.S. fall for second month in a row -data

Dec 3 (Reuters) - Venezuelan crude sales to the United States declined in November for the second consecutive month to 482,517 barrels per day (bpd) as exports of upgraded grades from the nation’s largest oil region slipped, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

Venezuela’s state-run Petróleos de Venezuela SA, known as PDVSA, its joint ventures and partners sent 30 crude cargoes to the United States last month, according to the data seen by Reuters on Monday. The volume of crude exported was 1.4 percent lower than in October, but 1.5 percent more than 12 months earlier.

The South American country’s overall crude exports have declined 21 percent this year with falling production, infrastructure mishaps, asset seizure attempts by creditors in the Caribbean and payment problems linked to sanctions on the country and PDVSA.

Valero Energy Corp was the largest U.S. recipient of Venezuelan crude in November, followed by PDVSA’s U.S. refining arm Citgo Petroleum and Chevron Corp, the data show.

Refiner PBF Energy, which in 2017 suspended direct purchases from PDVSA over contract disagreements following U.S. sanctions on the South American country, in November bought two cargoes of Venezuelan crude from trading firm Vitol.

PDVSA in mid-November resumed work at one of the docks of the OPEC-member country’s biggest oil port, Jose, but crude flowing from the nation’s Orinoco Belt extra-heavy oil region declined last month as some upgraders were under maintenance .

PDVSA’s sales of diluted crude oil (DCO), made with Venezuelan extra-heavy oil and imported naphtha, increased again last month but exports of crude from the Petromonagas and the Petro San Felix upgraders in the Orinoco Belt were halted as the facilities were still under maintenance, the data showed.

In October, Venezuela’s oil output fell to 1.17 million bpd, according to secondary sources quoted by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. The nation did not report its own numbers.

Crude flow to the United States has decreased 18.5 percent this year compared with the same period in 2017. Other destinations for Venezuelan crude, including India and China, have also received less oil from PDVSA in 2018. (Reporting by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Richard Chang)