In the Midst of Cuba’s Energy Crisis, Venezuela Increases Fuel Shipments

In October Venezuela exported an average of 711,193 barrels of oil per day. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, November 3, 2021 — Though Venezuelan shipments of petroleum have been increasing, their impact is not being felt on the island as long lines at gas stations are becoming ever more common. According to the news agency Reuters, Caracas shipped 66,000 barrels of crude oil and petroleum products to Havana in October compared to only 40,000 in August. The Reuters’ report is based on documents obtained from Refinitiv Eikon and Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA.

In spite of the increase in shipments, Cuba experienced several days of gas shortages in October. In several instances gas stations repeatedly saw lines of vehicles forming outside them. Long waits at bus stop have been constant in recent weeks due to the unpredictability of the public transport system. Private sector modes of transportation have been unable to absorb all the excess demand. Taxis already filled passengers now routinely drive past would-be customers trying to flag them down.

Authorities have not commented on the fact that there are fewer public buses on the roads but the gasoline shortage is the primary factor affecting service. With Covid-19 transmission on the decline, the government decided to resume all mass transit operations throughout the country starting November 1, which translates into additional gasoline and diesel fuel consumption.

In October Venezuela exported an average of 711,193 barrels of oil per day, a 76% increase over the previous month when a shortage of thinners forced PDVSA to cut production due to problems in the final mixing phase of the refining process.

Exports from South America’s largest petroleum producer have been increasing little by little thanks to help from Iran, one of the country’s most important allies, which began supplying condensate to dilute the Orinoco Belt’s extra-heavy crude oil.

In exchange for the shipment of condensate, Teheran received two million barrels of heavy crude. Documents show that in October thirty shipments of petroleum and petroleum products followed, much of which was destined for Asia. Iran is sending aid again this month, with a second shipment having already arrived in Venezuela.

The arrival of Venezuelan oil tankers in Cuba reflects the close collaboration that both countries have maintained since Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999. The flow of crude was averaging 90,000 barrels per day until 2016. Since then it has decreased due to low Venezuelan production and American sanctions. The US government has accused Havana of supporting the Maduro regime with intelligence and troops in exchange for fuel.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.