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PDVSA spot crude offers rise to 10.8 million barrels following sanctions


By Staff / Platts

Petroleumworld 03 04 2019

Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA now has 10.8 million barrels of crude sitting dockside without a buyer due to US sanctions, according to reports from terminals reviewed by S&P Global Platts Thursday.

PDVSA has accumulated 10 additional shipments of Mesa 30, Anaco Wax and Merey 16 crude without a buyer, the reports show.

According to the reports, there are three cargoes of 500,000 barrels each of Crudo Mesa 30 that have March 14-16, March 22-24 and March 30-April 1 loading windows.

PDVSA also has five cargoes of Merey 16 with 500,000 barrels each available in March 11-13, 16-18, 21-23, 26-28 and March 30-April 1 windows.

There are also two Anaco Wax crude cargoes of 500,000 barrels available with March 13-15 and March 29-April 1 windows.

Anaco Wax and Mesa 30 are light crudes with 44.8 degrees API gravity and 0.14% sulfur and 30.1 degrees API and 1.04%S, respectively. Merey 16 is an upgrader crude, diluted with light crude oil with 16.4 degrees API and 2.99%S.

All these shipments are in storage, with no assigned destination. No details of the storage location were available.

PDVSA did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

PDVSA usually sends the Mesa 30 and Anaco Wax crude for processing at the El Palito and Puerto La Cruz refineries, both of which are offline, according to technical reports obtained previously by Platts.

PDVSA also sends Mesa 30 to Cuba as part of bilateral agreements.

Venezuela has seen ever more limitations placed on its crude production.

According to previous reports seen by Platts, PDVSA was offering 5.8 million barrels of crude and diluted crude oil because of US sanctions.

Traditional customers of Venezuelan grades such as Merey 16, Boscan, Bachaquero and diluted crude oil did not submit bids for nine shipments scheduled between March and June. Chevron, Rosneft and Lukoil have freed PDVSA from contractual commitments so the Venezuelan company can seek customers in the international market for its crude.

But Indian and Chinese refiners, the main customers of PDVSA in Asia, are facing difficulties in ramping up imports of Venezuelan crude from their current levels amid US sanctions as oil traders are backing off, payment restrictions pile up and shipping remains uncertain.

Asian refiners accounted for around 40% of Venezuelan crude purchases before the US Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on PDVSA on January 28. After being shut out of the US market, PDVSA was expected to divert more volumes to its Asia customers. So far, there has not been a significant change in the volume of Venezuelan barrels heading east, according to vessel tracking data and shipping fixtures, partly because non-US entities still have until April 28 to wind down their petroleum transactions with Venezuela under the scope of the sanctions.

The administration of US President Donald Trump unveiled the sanctions on PDVSA January 28 that serve as a de facto ban on US imports of Venezuelan crude and an immediate ban on US exports of diluent to Venezuela. The sanctions require any payment for crude from PDVSA to be deposited into blocked accounts within the US. The funds would ultimately be transferred to a new Venezuelan government, led on an interim basis by Juan Guaido if and when Nicolas Maduro relinquishes power.

On February 1, Treasury also gave non-US companies three months to wind down transactions with PDVSA that involve the US financial system, essentially prohibiting sales of PDVSA crude and products in dollars.



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