Venezuela's oil exports recover in Nov, but still below last year's average

HOUSTON, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Venezuela last month exported 619,300 barrels per day (bpd) of crude and fuel as a resumption of shipments to Europe and the restart of oil processing plants lifted sales by 16% over October, according to documents and Refinitiv Eikon data.

The OPEC member's exports have this year averaged some 620,000 bpd year to date, slightly below 2021, but are expected to rise in the coming months under a U.S. license to oil major Chevron Corp (CVX.N) as part of a sanctions-easing strategy.

Italian oil major Eni (ENI.MI), another joint venture partner of state company PDVSA, was allocated two crude cargoes in November for debt repayment, carrying a total of 1.85 million barrels of Venezuelan diluted crude to Spain, where they will be refined by Repsol (REP.MC).

Exports also benefited from the restart of a PDVSA-Chevron crude upgrader at their Petropiar joint venture in the Orinoco Belt. Nearby, one of Petrolera Sinovensa's two crude blending plants operated by PDVSA and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) also resumed work. Both had suffered from outages and lack of diluents to operate.

A total of 24 cargoes carrying crude and refined products and 224,000 metric tonnes of methanol and petroleum coke set sail from Venezuelan waters last month, according to the data and PDVSA's internal export schedules.

Venezuelan PDVSA's crude processing facilities restarted operations after outages and a lack of diluents, leading to a sale increase in November.

TOP RECEIVER: CHINA

November's figures implied a 16% volume increase from October, but they were almost 3% lower than exports in the same month last year and below August's peak 813,000 bpd.

Most of November's cargoes were bound for China after passing through ship-to-ship transfer hubs, particularly Malaysia. PDVSA also sent about 38,000 bpd of crude, fuel oil and gasoline blend stock to key political ally Cuba. That was below the 52,000 bpd in October.

An Iran-owned supertanker that had arrived in Venezuela bringing imports, and a third-party operated vessel set sail in November carrying Venezuelan heavy crude and fuel oil for Iran's state firm Naftiran Intertrade Co (NICO), the documents showed.

Another Iran-flagged tanker in Venezuela, the Huge, is also expected to navigate back carrying fuel oil for NICO this month as part of an oil swap with PDVSA, according to the documents.

Reporting by Marianna Parraga in Houston and Mircely Guanipa in Maracay, Venezuela Editing by Marguerita Choy

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Thomson Reuters

Focused on energy-related sanctions, corruption and money laundering with 20 years of experience covering Latin America's oil and gas industries. Born in Venezuela and based in Houston, she is author of the book "Oro Rojo" about Venezuela's troubled state-run company PDVSA and Mom to three boys.