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PDVSA slashes April crude to India's Reliance by 40% to 180,000 b/d




By Platts

Petroleumworld 03 21 2019

Venezuela's state-owned PDVSA plans to deliver only 180,000 b/d of the 300,000 b/d of crude it promised to India's Reliance Industries in April, according to company records, further tightening the heavy sour crude supply available to Asian refiners.

PDVSA plans to meets its full 60,000 b/d April commitment to Indian refiner Nayara Energy.

The April shipments to both Indian buyers are unchanged from March levels, and all crude is the Merey 16 grade, PDVSA said.

Privately owned Reliance, which operates two mega-refineries at the Jamnagar complex on India's west coast, has said it will reduce its Venezuelan crude imports in compliance with US sanctions. Reliance also halted sales of diluents like naphtha to Venezuela in the past month. PDVSA depends on imported naphtha to dilute its heavy crude grades.

However, Russian state-owned Rosneft is Nayara's largest shareholder, and Russia has committed to helping the regime of President Nicolas Maduro withstand US sanctions.

Despite a Reuters report this week that India had ended Venezuelan crude imports, oil continues to flow from Jose Terminal to Vadinar port on India's west coast.

Four VLCCs carrying Venezuelan crude were en route to Vadinar as of Wednesday, according to S&P Global Platts trade flow software cFlow. The VLCCs Trf Horten, Abqaiq, Maran Gemini and Energy R have estimated arrivals of March 25-April 18.

The VLCC Apollonas arrived Tuesday in Vadinar with a Venezuelan cargo, according to cFlow.

India's petroleum secretary told US officials last week that the government was stressing to private Indian refiners the risks of importing Venezuelan crude amid US sanctions against PDVSA.

The two sets of US oil sanctions against Iran and Venezuela have hit India in particular, as the world's No. 3 oil importer relies heavily on both supply sources. India may point to a sharp drop in its Iranian imports, its potential room to cut Venezuelan imports and its increasing reliance on US crude in negotiating for further Iran sanctions relief in May, analysts said last week.

Venezuelan shipments to India had been relatively steady so far this year despite the exporter's escalating crisis. India imported 296,356 b/d year to date, compared with 285,255 b/d in 2018 and 334,997 b/d in 2017, according to cFlow data.

Iranian shipments to India have dropped to around 270,000 b/d so far in 2019, from a 2018 average of 517,823 b/d, according to cFlow data. The 2018 imports rose from 461,977 b/d in 2017 as the Trump administration geared up to reinstate sanctions along with Iran providing freight discounts to Indian refiners.



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Story by Staff with Meghan Gordon in Washington from Platts / SPGlobal.

- newsdesk@spglobal.com

03 20


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