14ymedio, Madrid, September 27, 2023 — Mexico gave Cuba more than one million barrels of crude oil worth 77 million dollars in June and July, according to Bloomberg, reporting on Tuesday. The donation, however, seems to have its days numbered, since the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador needs to reduce its fiscal deficit and wants to take advantage of the increase in the price of a barrel of oil, which has reached 100 dollars on the international market.
The economic media states that in June, 350,000 barrels of Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) arrived on the Island, an amount that doubled a month later with the shipment of 700,000, according to port information data and ship movements (Vesselfinder). For Bloomberg, these were the first Mexican deliveries since 2019, and Reuters reports that they began in February. The British agency calculated in August that the total donation amounted to two million barrels.
In June, 350,000 barrels of Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) arrived on the Island, an amount that doubled a month later with the shipment of 700,000
The Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Alicia Bárcena, referred to this matter in New York during the celebration of the United Nations General Assembly. According to the official, the shipments were made through the International Development Cooperation Agency, but now the Government of López Obrador wants to sell crude oil directly from Pemex.
“Why not? We have to see how it can happen and what kind of transaction. We have a financial situation, of course. It’s not easy to donate,” Bárcena said.
Crude oil prices have increased by 25% in recent months, and Mexico faces its own economic problems on the verge of a year of presidential elections. Pemex’s crude oil production is half that of 2004, its highest moment, and has decreased almost every year in the last decade and a half, the media points out.
In addition, with 110.5 billion dollars at the end of June, Pemex has the highest debt among all the oil companies in the world.
The problem, according to Bárcena, is the US embargo on Cuba, which she denounced from the UN rostrum, calling it “totally unjustified, contrary to international law and alien to the values and peaceful coexistence that prevail among the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.”
According to Bloomberg, this August, Mexican crude did not arrive in Cuba, but taking into account the average price of the mixture in those months, it estimates that the first shipment amounted to 23 million dollars, while the July donation had a value of about 54 million dollars. The financial agency does not include in its calculations the 100,000 barrels of fuel that arrived in Havana on August 25, from the Mexican port of Pajaritos (Veracruz).
Russia supplied Cuba with about 12,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) between February and July, according to data from Refinitiv Eikon
The support of Mexico, together with that of Russia – which supplied Cuba with about 12,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) between February and July, according to data from Refinitiv Eikon – is added to the exports of the Venezuelan PDVSA, which maintains the average agreed to between Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez in 2000 (around 55,000 bpd per month), but with oscillations.
Last August, Caracas sent 65,000 bpd, and in June the amount reached 75,000, but there have been months with negligible exports to the Island – especially when compared to the first years of the pact, when they exceeded 100,000 bpd – such as the first quarter of 2022, when the average was 22,000 bpd.
Despite everything, Cuba is once again experiencing a moment of profound energy crisis and has begun to recover measures introduced at the time of the great blackouts of 2022, such as teleworking, production reductions and the shutdown of air conditioning and refrigeration systems, including for the private sector, which fears fatal repercussions for its food imports.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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