EFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 30 September 2023 — Mexico has sent about 200 million dollars worth of oil to Cuba this year, according to calculations by the Energy Institute of the University of Texas (USA), to which EFE had access.
This year Mexico, through its state-owned Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), has become one of the largest suppliers of crude oil on the Island, which practically depends on imports from allied countries such as Russia and Venezuela for its energy system.
So far, it has not been revealed whether these barrels have been donations, sold with a long-term credit or are part of any bilateral agreement, such as the hiring of Cuban doctors, as is already the case with Venezuela. The shipments have generated some controversy in Mexico.
According to the study, prepared by crossing data from tracking platforms of oil tankers with market prices on a daily basis, Cuba has received a total of 2.81 million barrels of crude oil and derivatives from Pemex since March.
So far, it has not been revealed whether these barrels have been donations, sold with a long-term credit or are part of any bilateral agreement
The last shipment on record is from September 16, when the Cuban-flagged tanker Vilma arrived at the port of Cienfuegos with 350,000 barrels of crude oil – valued at 29.4 million dollars – from Pajaritos (Veracruz, Mexico).
In August, Mexico sent 465,000 barrels worth $36.2 million, while in July it was 730,000 barrels worth $49.4 million.
However, this situation could take a drastic turn. In recent days, Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena told the Bloomberg agency that her country is evaluating “options” to charge Cuba for the fuel it sends.
For Cuban academic Jorge Piñón, a researcher specializing in Cuba at the Energy Institute of the University of Texas, this decision is largely explained by the increase in the price per barrel in international markets, which currently trades at around 100 dollars per unit.
“With these barrels that Mexico, Russia and Venezuela send to Cuba, they lose the opportunity to sell the oil in international markets and have a positive cash flow,” he said in an interview with EFE.
Cuba is going through a new crisis due to fuel shortages, a situation that will continue to cause new and prolonged blackouts throughout its geography, the Government warned this week. Much of Cuba’s energy generation system depends on different imported fossil fuels.
With these barrels that Mexico, Russia and Venezuela send to Cuba, they lose the opportunity to sell the oil in international markets and have a positive cash flow
According to Cuba’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Vicente de la O Levy, the countries that supply the Island “have not been able to comply” with their agreements, and therefore the Cuban Government is being forced to go out “to buy almost every day.”
Piñón stressed the seriousness of the situation. According to his data, the Island has not received Russian crude “for months,” and since 2016, Venezuela has decreased the daily shipment from 100,000 barrels to currently around 57,000.
Cuba’s Minister of Economy, Alejandro Gil, said on state television that a “more rational” use of fuel is being “planned in detail” in the next two weeks. This has caused a sudden increase in the now infamous lines at the country’s gas stations.
Given the lack of fuel, Gil said, Cuba will undertake savings measures to guarantee the “vitality” of the main activities of the population and the economy.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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