Venezuela’s oil exports declined almost 14% in January from December, but crude oil inventories fell, helping state-run company PDVSA deal with a storage glut accumulated due to U.S. sanctions, Reuters reported.
PDVSA exported 951,903 barrels per day of crude and refined products last month vs 1.1 million Bpd (Mmbpd) in December and 1.38 Mmbpd in January 2019, according to internal company reports and Refinitiv Eikon vessel-tracking data, Reuters reported.
Venezuela’s exports fell by 33% in 2019, to an average 1 Mmbpd, primarily due to sanctions imposed in early 2019 by the Trump administration, in an effort to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro while supporting an interim government led by the Venezuelan Congress chief, Juan Guaido, Kallanish Energy learns.
The measures deprived PDVSA of its primary market, the U.S., shrank its customer base elsewhere and forced the company to reshuffle output to focus on crude grades demanded by its remaining Asian buyers.
Unsold crude inventory has eased since October, as PDVSA recovered one of its most important markets: India. Total crude stocks declined to 35.9 million barrels (Mmbbl) at Jan. 31, from a peak of 39.85 Mmbbl in September, according to data intelligence firm Kpler, Reuters reported.
PDVSA did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
In January, India was the largest market for Venezuela’s oil, receiving 38.5% of total exports, followed by Singapore, Togo and Malaysia, countries where PDVSA’s crude is transshipped and blended before reaching final destinations such as China, the data showed.
The largest receiver of Venezuelan oil last month was Russia’s Rosneft, taking 49% of exports. The company since last year has been the primary middleman for selling Venezuela’s crude.
Venezuela’s crude output in 2019 fell to its lowest point in almost 75 years due to lack of investment, an executive exodus that accelerated under PDVSA’s military rule, mismanagement and U.S. sanctions.
After two decades of production declines, Maduro is now pushing for reforms in the oil industry to attract foreign investment needed for recovering oilfields, importing equipment and repairing infrastructure, Reuters reported.
In January, Venezuela’s oil imports increased to 176,838 Bpd vs 124,500 Bpd in December, Reuters reported.
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