By Marianna Parraga
Jan 7 (Reuters) – Venezuelan crude exports to the United States last year fell 15 percent to the lowest annual average in nearly three decades, according to Refinitiv Eikon data, as fast-declining oil output and financial sanctions continued to hit sales.
Crude volumes to the United States by state-run PDVSA and its joint ventures dropped to 500,013 barrels per day (bpd), a third less than five years ago and the lowest since 1989, figures from Refinitiv Eikon and the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed.
A lack of investment, mismanagement and fleeing workers have driven the OPEC-member’s oil production to the lowest in almost seven decades. Under a military-led board of directors, output fell to an average of 1.516 million bpd from January through November last year, a 27-percent fall compared with the 2.072 million bpd for all of 2017, according to numbers officially reported to OPEC. Other estimates are lower.
Venezuela is struggling to fulfill crude-supply contracts, including those tied to oil-for-loan pacts with Russian and Chinese firms. The insufficient export revenue has Venezuelans suffering through hyperinflation and lack of basic goods, fueling an exodus projected to reach 3 million people.
The United States, Venezuela’s largest crude export destination ahead of India and China, has been particularly affected by the shipment drop, especially since sanctions on the country and state-run PDVSA were imposed in 2017 by President Donald Trump. The administration is considering new measures that could begin this month.
The largest U.S. receiver of Venezuelan crude last year was PDVSA’s refining unit Citgo Petroleum with 175,873 bpd, followed by Valero Energy with 166,099 bpd and Chevron Corp with 83,041 bpd, Eikon data showed.
An export increase in December, when sales to the United Stated reached 533,358 bpd due to larger shipments of diluted crude made with imported naphtha, was not enough to avoid a decline in the whole year, according to the data.
The following is a table of Venezuelan crude sales to the United States by PDVSA and its joint ventures, according to Refinitiv Eikon data:
Period Exports (bpd) Number of cargoes
December 533,358 33
November 482,517 30
October 489,282 30
September 601,505 38
August 468,300 30
July 494,406 30
June 563,962 33
May 538,042 32
April 512,182 31
March 454,775 27
February 378,643 21
January 476,548 29
2018 500,013 364
2017 591,422 419
2016 718,365 530
2015 772,877 582
2014 733,000 N.A.
2013 755,000 N.A.
(Reporting by Marianna Parraga)