14ymedio, Justo Mora, Cienfuegos, 27 February 2018 – As of this weekend gasoline has become one of the most sought after products in Cienfuegos, with no information forthcoming about the shortages at the network of gas stations run by the state-owned Cuba Petróleos (CUPET).
“There is no B-83. There is no Regular B,” announces a piece of paper taped to the door of La Calzada service station, in the heart of the city.
According to one employee, the company has problems with fuel distribution so the delays in supply are expected to continue.
Of five service stations visited by 14ymedio this Monday, only the one located in the Pueblo Griffo neighborhood was offering 83-octane gasoline. And although there is also a complete lack of diesel, neither the authorities nor CUPET have offered any information about that shortage.
Cuba depends on the Venezuelan crude that the country imports through cooperation agreements signed with Venezuela since 2000. The crisis now affecting that country, Cuba’s main ally, has affected the supply of fuel at the national level, and in response the state has cut working hours and called for energy savings. It is estimated that the Venezuelan Government previously sent about 110,000 barrels of oil a day to the island, a figure that has been reduced to 50,000 barrels since the crisis in Venezuela.
Oil production in Venezuela has fallen to its lowest level in the last three decades, standing at 1.6 million barrels per day in December, compared to 2.6 million barrels per day produced by the country in 2015. In addition, the Cuban government is alarmed by the failure to meet national oil production plans, which last year totaled 38,000 tons.
On the banks of Jagua Bay sits the Cienfuegos Refinery, a project undertaken by the Soviets that was restarted by Venezuela in 2009, when Chavez said he would build a major petrochemical hub in Cuba that would be an example for Latin America. Less than a decade later, while fuel is scarce, the great industrial center remains a simple memory of an unfulfilled promise.
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