By Irina Slav
Venezuela exported a little over 980,000 bpd on average in March despite a string of severe blackouts, Reuters reported, citing documents from state oil company PDVSA and its own data.
The blackouts suspended operations at Venezuela’s largest oil export terminal Jose and, according to TankerTrackers.com, caused a slump in exports to 650,000 bpd, the co-founder of the tanker data provider, Samir Madani, told Reuters. The catchup, according to Madani, was impressive.
This suggests PDVSA, against all odds, was able to quickly ramp up shipments when power was restored.
The Reuters figures are higher than those from Kpler, a France-based energy commodity shipments tracking provider, which calculated Venezuelan March exports at an average daily of 928,000. However, Kpler estimated these had fallen by 355,000 bpd from February, dipping below 1 million bpd for the first time in more than five years.
Reuters numbers for February had Venezuela’s average daily oil exports at 990,355 bpd.
TankerTrackers.com calculated the March decline from February at around 100,000 bpd, from over 995,470 bpd in February to 898,383 bpd in March, Madani told Oilprice.
The bulk of what Venezuela exported last month went to China, India, and Singapore: these three destinations constituted 74 percent of PDVSA’s oil exports in March. That’s up from 70 percent in February, Reuters noted.
As the South American country grapples with its numerous problems, the U.S. plans to tighten the sanction noose around it soon. Beginning in May, importers of Venezuelan crude that use U.S. subsidiaries in their transactions with PDVSA or the U.S. banking system would have to stop buying the commodity as a grace period granted by Washington to these entities expires.
“(We will) continue to take action to ensure Venezuela’s energy resources are preserved for the legitimate government of interim president Juan Guaido, for the people of Venezuela, and the reconstruction of a country destroyed through mismanagement and corruption,” a U.S. official told Reuters earlier this week. What’s more, Washington was considering extending the sanctions to non-U.S. companies buying Venezuelan oil even if they do not use the U.S. banking system.