CARACAS Feb 9 Venezuelan state oil company
PDVSA has delayed and canceled crude deliveries to commercial
partners in recent months, according to documents seen by
Reuters, a further sign of the steady production decline of the
country's top export.
From October through January, PDVSA canceled or delayed
delivery of almost 7 million barrels of crude due to cargoes
being rescheduled or skipped, often because it did not have
enough oil available, according to internal company documents
seen by Reuters.
Most pending cargoes were supposed to be delivered to
regular buyers including U.S. Phillips 66 and Thai TIPCO
Asphalt. Other shipments were canceled even before
being assigned to specific customers.
Phillips 66 and TIPCO hold supply contracts for some 10
monthly cargoes of Venezuelan heavy crude, or about 180,000
barrels per day (bpd).
PDVSA and TIPCO did not respond to requests for comment.
Phillips 66 declined to comment.
The accumulated delays to these partners represented 30,000
bpd at the end January, according to the documents.
PDVSA has also fallen months behind on shipments of crude
and fuel under oil-for-loan deals with China and Russia,
according to internal PDVSA documents reviewed by Reuters, which
includes 3.2 million barrels of Boscan heavy crude bound for
China's state-run CNPC.
PDVSA's main export products are crude and fuel oil, a
relatively heavy, dirty refined product that is used mostly for
power generation. Crude and fuel oil together last year
accounted for 92 percent of some 2.1 million bpd in total
exports, according to Reuters data.
But the OPEC country's economic crisis and frequent
operational problems have pushed oil output to a 23-year low,
leaving PDVSA without enough crude to keep sending oil to
traditional customers or supply its own refineries.
"Everybody is worried about PDVSA's compliance with supply
contracts due to delays and loading problems at certain
terminals," said one trader who deals in Venezuelan crude and
spoke on condition of anonymity.
Since October, PDVSA has canceled five cargoes of Merey
crude totaling 2.75 million barrels that were destined for
Phillips 66 and in January delayed an 800,000 barrel cargo of
Boscan crude to TIPCO for lack of supply, according to company
Delays have been especially problematic for shipments of
crude grades produced in western Venezuela, according to another
trader, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Exports of those crude grades have declined sharply due to
lack of investment in the area's aging fields and recent
problems loading crude at certain terminals affected by oil
(Reporting by Marianna Parraga in Houston and Brian Ellsworth
in Caracas; Editing by David Gaffen and Brian Thevenot)