June 20, 2018 / 5:51 PM / 6 months ago

PDVSA's exports sink in June amid seizures, shipping backlog - data

FILE PHOTO: A worker walks past a mural with a PDVSA logo at its gas station in Caracas, Venezuela August 29, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Venezuelan PDVSA’s oil exports declined 32 percent in the first half of June compared with May, according to internal trade reports from the state-run company, following seizures of some Caribbean assets that disrupted crude and fuel shipments.

PDVSA exported 765,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the first two weeks of June, a 368,000-bpd drop versus 1.133 million bpd shipped in May. The numbers do not include cargoes of upgraded oil by two of PDVSA’s joint ventures, which are exported separately.

The trade data reveals the extent of the state-run oil firm’s export crisis from declining crude output, a lack of cash for spare parts and equipment, and a loss of employees fleeing due to hyperinflation and the nation’s severe recession.

It also underscores how U.S. producer ConocoPhillips’ legal moves in the Caribbean to satisfy a $2 billion arbitration award against PDVSA have left the Venezuelan company with limited ability to meet supply contracts, especially to Asian customers.

PDVSA did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

In June, PDVSA increased its loading of larger vessels to deliver bigger cargoes to some customers, according to the company’s reports and Thomson Reuters vessel tracking data. It also began seaborne transfers to ease tanker congestion at the OPEC country’s main oil port of Jose.

But the strategy has not succeeded in solving the shipping delays. PDVSA’s exports so far in 2018 average 1.24 million bpd, 26 percent below the 1.68 million bpd shipped last year due to falling output and a lack of access to the Caribbean ports it previously used for shipping and storing oil, according to the company’s documents.

As of Wednesday, more than 80 tankers were anchored near Venezuelan ports, a portion of which were waiting to load about 22 million barrels of crude and products for export. That backlog was down slightly from a 24-million-barrel peak earlier this month.

Several very large crude carriers (VLCCs) and Suezmaxes chartered by Reliance Industries, Nayara Energy, PDVSA’s U.S. unit Citgo Petroleum and Valero Energy were among those in line, according to Reuters data.

Reporting by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Tom Brown

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