14ymedio, Madrid, 20 April 2022 — After seven months without sending diesel, the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA is preparing 190,000 barrels for Cuba, according to a company document seen by Reuters.
According to this information, the Delsa ship, chartered by the state-owned Cubametales, loads 200,000 barrels of fuel oil and 190,000 of diesel to take to Matanzas, where there is a storage terminal. This latter product has not arrived on the Island since September 2021, which has forced Cuba to buy on the international market at high prices.
But PDVSA has sent, explains Reuters, jet fuel and gasoline at the beginning of the year.
Crude throughput at Venezuelan refineries has stabilized in recent weeks at around 230,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to independent figures, well below their 1.3 million bpd capacity.
Venezuela’s own production problems have led to limits on exports, but receiving this diesel now is essential for Cuba and Venezuela has decided to give its political ally a breath of fresh air now that summer is coming, when it most needs this fuel to limit blackouts.
Cuba depends on imports to cover more than half of its fuel demand and in recent months the population has become concerned about the spiral of breakdowns in power plants that further threaten reserves. This concern also grips the Government, which fears that the situation of last year will repeat itself, when fuel shortages, blackouts and heat ended up imploding a population that is also tired of the pandemic, lack of food, oxygen and freedoms; a population that took to the streets to protest on July 11.
Earlier this month it was learned that, during the first quarter of the year, Cuba had received only about 22,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and fuel from Caracas. Reuters itself advanced then that there was a “battle” on the Island to cover the deficit.
Cuba needs around 100,000 bpd on average to cover national demand, of which, until now, it imported some 70,000, almost a third of it from Venezuela. The rest is acquired mainly from Algeria and, to a lesser extent, from Russia, Italy and the United Kingdom, according to a report by Periodismo de Barrio.
On average, the Venezuelan state-owned PDVSA has provided Cuba with some 60,000 bpd since 2019, when the crisis was already serious in Caracas due to US sanctions. But in 2020 the amount was reduced to 44,000 bpd and in 2021 to only 21,000 bpd.
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