HOUSTON Dec 14 Sales of Venezuelan crude to the
United States bounced to 742,535 barrels per day last month, a
23 percent increase versus October but 10.5 percent less than
the same month of 2015, according to Thomson Reuters trade flows
Larger shipments of upgraded oil from the vast Orinoco belt,
Venezuela's main producing region, contributed to the growth,
even though state-run PDVSA has recently struggled to pay
suppliers of the products used to dilute its extra heavy oil.
PDVSA and its joint ventures sent a total of 42 crude
cargoes to their customers in the United States in November
versus 37 in October.
PDVSA's unit in the United States, Citgo Petroleum, which
has been receiving more Venezuelan crude this year under an
exchange agreement allowing the South American country to import
more refined products, was the biggest importer in November.
Refining and oil firms Valero Energy, Phillips 66
and Chevron Corp followed. PDVSA also did more
spot sales to U.S. customers last month.
Declining crude production has affected PDVSA's exports this
year. Venezuela plans to withdraw around 95,000 bpd more in 2017
to an average of 1.97 million bpd as part of the cut agreed by
the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The country's diluent imports have also been limited this
year, affecting the formulation of exportable blends. PDVSA has
bought some 12.1 million barrels of light crude and around 13
million barrels of heavy naphtha so far this year versus some 35
million barrels of diluents last year.
(Reporting by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Alistair Bell)