January 11, 2018 / 7:19 PM / 5 months ago

Venezuela's crude sales to the U.S. fell below 600,000 bpd in 2017

    HOUSTON, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Venezuela's crude oil sales to
the United States fell for a second month in a row in December,
knocking the year's average to 593,047 barrels per day (bpd),
the lowest annual level since 1991, according to Thomson Reuters
trade flows data.
    A severe production drop in the South American country has
hurt its oil exports and domestic refining, and worsened an
economic recession now entering into its fifth year. Venezuela's
state-run oil company PDVSA is mired in a widespread corruption
investigation that has stalled decision making. 
    Financial sanctions on Venezuela imposed last year by U.S.
President Donald Trump's administration have particularly
affected PDVSA's oil flows to and from the United States as the
company and some of its customers struggle to get commercial
credit for transactions.
    The International Energy Agency, which coordinates the
energy policies of industrial nations, and several analysis
firms expect Venezuela's crude output to lose another 500,000
bpd this year due to lack of investment, mounting debts,
sanctions, a brain drain caused by low salaries and a new
management with no experience in the oil industry.
    In total, the United States received 419 crude cargoes of
Venezuelan crude last year versus 530 cargoes in 2016, according
to the data. The largest receivers were PDVSA's refining unit
Citgo Petroleum and Valero Energy Corp.
    Chevron Corp and Phillips 66 also imported
cargoes during the year, according to the data. Refining firm
PBF Energy Inc stopped receiving direct supplies of
Venezuelan crude from PDVSA in October after contract
disagreements. 
    PDVSA and its joint ventures mainly sold diluted crude oil
(DCO) to U.S. customers last year, a grade that mixes Venezuelan
extra heavy oil with imported heavy naphtha.
    The 2017 volumes reflected lower exports in recent months.
Since September, shipments to the United States have not
surpassed 550,000 bpd, well below the average of earlier months.
    In 2016, Venezuela exported 718,365 bpd of crude to the
United States from an oil production of 2.466 million bpd.
Production in November - the latest number available - was 1.837
million bpd, according to figures published by OPEC. 
    The following is a table of Venezuelan crude sales to the
United States from PDVSA's ports and terminals, according to the
Reuters data:
    
 Period      Exports     Number of
             (bpd)       cargoes
 December    392,710     24
 November    475,165     28
 October     541,130     33
 September   488,165     30
 August      660,235     38
 July        638,325     3i6
 June        491,335     29
 May         698,225     42
 April       641,000     42
 March       561,710     40
 February    667,035     37
 January     675,160     40
 2017        593,047     419
 2016        718,365     530
 2015        772,880     582
 2014        733,000     N.A.
 2013        755,000     N.A.
 
 (Reporting by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
  
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