Venezuela oil exports fell in May due to outage, diluent shortage -data

June 1 (Reuters) - Venezuela's oil exports fell to 593,550 barrels per day (bpd) in May as a result of an outage in its main producing region and a lack of diluents to produce exportable grades, documents and tanker tracking data showed.

The OPEC member's oil shipments were stable at around 700,000 bpd between February and April, but a gas leak that hit state-run PDVSA's upgraders and lower availability of light crude and refined products to dilute the Orinoco belt's extra heavy oil knocked exports last month.

PDVSA and its joint ventures shipped a total of 27 cargoes of crude and fuel in May, a 14.5% decline from April, but an increase of almost 28% versus exports in the same month of 2020, company documents and Refinitiv Eikon data shows.

Venezuela's crude production fell to 445,000 bpd in April with its main grade price, Merey crude, at around $46 per barrel that month, according to secondary sources quoted by OPEC.

The nation's output bounced in May to about 600,000 bpd due to an increase in extra heavy oil production according to sources, but gas and power outages and an acute scarcity of diluents affected PDVSA's ability to produce exportable blends, according to a source and company documents.

PDVSA and Venezuela's oil ministry did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

[For a graphic on Venezuela's monthly oil exports since 2020, click on]

About 75% of total exports were bound for Asia in cargoes chartered by mostly unknown companies that since last year have become PDVSA's new customers, the data and documents showed.

At least two cargoes of fuel oil departed in May bound for the Fujairah port, in the United Arab Emirates, a new destination for Venezuela's residual fuel.

Exports to Cuba, Venezuela's most important political ally, rose to 67,000 bpd from 54,000 bpd the previous month in six cargoes of crude and fuel oil.

Venezuela's fuel imports also increased slightly, to some 24,000 bpd, after the arrival of the first diesel purchase since November, which is expected to ease an acute scarcity mainly caused by insufficient domestic refining. read more

Reporting by Marianna Parraga in Mexico City and Mircely Guanipa in Maracay, Venezuela; Editing by Alexander Smith

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