(Oilprice.com, Julianne Geiger, 5.Jun.2019) — Venezuela’s oil exports slumped in May as the sanctions levied by the United States staunched the flow of oil from the troubled Latin American country that is in the middle of a severe crisis, according to Refinitive Eikon data.
Venezuela’s oil exports fell 17% in May to 874,500 barrels per day as it shut down almost all of its crude oil upgraders.
A couple of weeks ago, Reuters reported that Venezuela had stopped upgrading crude oil, while leaving a couple of the upgraders running merely to prevent damage to the facilities.
According to Reuters, Venezuela still managed to ship 33 oil and fuel cargoes, most of which went to Asia. India received less crude oil from Venezuela in May, falling to 187,000 barrels per day—down more than 30 percent. China, however, received 450,000 bpd from Venezuela in May, roughly the same level as April shipments as the United States is unable to curb these transactions.
The United States sanctions on Venezuela is also unable to stop the flow of crude oil to Cuba. Shipments actually increased to Cuba for the month of May, rising to 91,000 barrels per day from 49,000 barrels per day in April.
But Venezuela’s crude oil inventories are dwindling as the upgraders have now stopped—inventory which until now has allowed it to maintain at least some of its oil exports.
United States refineries are struggling to keep their refineries in cheap heavy crude now that US refineries are unable to get their hands on Venezuelan or Iranian heavy crude. Canada, too, is unable to keep the flow of its heavy crude going as wildfires have caused shutdowns in oil-rich Alberta and takeaway capacity constraints persist.
Venezuela’s crude oil production fell to 768,000 barrels per day in April.