MIAMI, United States .- According to the internal documents of the Venezuelan petroleum company PDVSA, Venezuela has resumed the supply of crude oil to Cuba at a time when the processing of oil in the refineries of the South American country continues to decline, Reuters reported.
The shipments, which started in June and continued until August, amounted to 4.19 million barrels of Venezuelan rough Mesa 30, a type that is used to produce fuels in national refineries and to mix it with heavier oil for export.
The South American country that has been supplying oil to Cuba through a bilateral agreement since 2000 does not have the money to pay for spare parts, equipment and raw materials needed to counteract the decline in oil production in its own refineries.
According to Reuters, oil production, the backbone of that country's economy, fell again in August, bringing the annual output of the OPEC countries to its lowest level since 1950.
Since January, PDVSA has provided Cuba with 11.74 million barrels (about 49,000 barrels per day) of crude oil, including foreign varieties, Venezuela's Mesa 30, heavier crude oil and diluted crude oil, according to the consulted documents. Last year the Venezuelan state-owned company stopped shipping Mesa 30 to the island because of the growing need for this type of oil in the country.
For its part, PDVSA was buying Russia Russian crude oil from oil intermediaries to supply its ally earlier this year, such purchases stopped and shortly after the company resumed Mesa 30 exports, according to the data.
Those responsible for PDVSA have not responded to a request for comment from the Reuters news agency.
The planning documents do not give details about the services that have been exchanged, nor about the payments for shipments to Cuba, but they do a chronicle of the decline of the refineries of the country amidst the lack of oil. It is expected that the PDVSA refinery circuit will process 373,000 barrels of crude oil per day this month, 29% of its capacity of 1,304 million barrels per day, according to the documents, below 701,000 barrels per month in March.
Meanwhile, the second largest refinery of Venezuela, Cardón, stopped last week after repairs had not put it into operation. Key processing units in the largest refinery in the country, Amuay, also stopped in September due to a low raw material inventory.
Managers of PDVSA have studied the use of foreign crude oil, such as the Urals of Russia, to increase the processing speeds of national refineries and to reduce fuel imports, but no final decision has been taken, according to documents cited by Reuters.