PDVSA's exports sink in June amid seizures, shipping backlog: data

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Venezuelan PDVSA’s oil exports fell 32 percent in the first half of June compared with May, according to internal trade reports from the state-run company, as deepening output declines and seizures of some Caribbean assets disrupted crude and fuel shipments.

FILE PHOTO: A worker walks past a mural with a PDVSA logo at its gas station in Caracas, Venezuela August 29, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

PDVSA exported 765,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the first two weeks of June, a 368,000-bpd drop versus 1.133 million bpd shipped in May. The numbers do not include cargoes of upgraded oil by two of PDVSA’s joint ventures, which are exported separately.

The trade data reveals the extent of the state-run oil firm’s export crisis from declining crude output, a lack of cash for spare parts and equipment, and a loss of employees fleeing due to hyperinflation and the nation’s severe recession.

It also underscores how U.S. producer ConocoPhillips’ use of court attachments in the Caribbean to satisfy a $2 billion arbitration award against PDVSA over a 2007 nationalization have left the Venezuelan company with limited ability to meet supply contracts, especially to Asian customers.

PDVSA did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

In June, PDVSA increased its loading of larger vessels to deliver bigger cargoes to some customers, according to the company’s reports and Thomson Reuters vessel tracking data. It also began seaborne transfers to ease tanker congestion at the OPEC country’s main oil port of Jose.

But the strategy has not succeeded in solving the shipping delays. PDVSA’s exports so far in 2018 average 1.24 million bpd, 26 percent below the 1.68 million bpd shipped last year due to falling output and a lack of access to the Caribbean ports it previously used for shipping and storing oil, according to the company’s documents.

As of Wednesday, more than 80 tankers were anchored off Venezuelan shores, some of which were waiting to load about 22 million barrels of crude and products for export. That backlog was down slightly from a 24-million-barrel peak earlier this month.

Several very large crude carriers (VLCCs) and Suezmax tankers chartered by Reliance Industries, Nayara Energy, PDVSA’s U.S. unit Citgo Petroleum and Valero Energy were among those in line, according to Reuters data.


PDVSA this month asked customers not to send tankers to lift oil for exports until it had loaded vessels waiting for weeks at two main Venezuelan ports.

The oil company since has been working to catch up on crude and refined products shipments to its largest customers, but through the first half of June its contract compliance remained low, according to the firm’s data.

Deliveries of Merey heavy crude and fuel oil to state-run China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), one of PDVSA’s largest creditors, satisfied only 36 percent of the 550,000 bpd required by its contracts in June, the data showed.

Two VLCCs chartered by CNPC and subsidiaries have been waiting since late May to load crude at Jose, according to Reuters data.

Shipments of Boscan heavy crude to Chevron Corp covered 74 percent of the contracted volume in the first two weeks of June while crude and fuel supplied to Cuba met 67 percent of its 97,000 bpd contract.

No crude shipments were delivered to Indian refiners in the first half of the month, out of the 360,000 bpd of Venezuelan crude contracted. But two large tankers carrying 3 million barrels combined were shipped to the Asian country this week, the Reuters data shows.

India’s Reliance and Nayara Energy have at least two more deliveries pending this month. Large tankers sent by the companies have been waiting for up to a month to load at Jose port.

Reporting by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Tom Brown