Chevron Expands Venezuelan Crude Sales To Other Oil Refiners

Oil tanker Kerala, chartered by Chevron, is loaded in the Bajo Grande oil terminal at Maracaibo Lake, in the municipality of San Francisco, Venezuela, January 5, 2023. REUTERS/Isaac Urrutia/File Photo

Chevron Expands Venezuelan Crude Sales To Other Oil Refiners

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January 14, 2023

By Lucia Kassai

(Bloomberg) –Chevron Corp. sold a cargo of Venezuelan oil to another US refiner in the first such transaction since sanctions against the Latin American nation were eased less than two months ago.  

Phillips 66 bought half-a-million barrels of a type of sludgy oil known as Hamaca from Chevron, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified. The crude will be processed at the refiner’s Sweeny, Texas, complex about 65 miles (105 kilometers) south of Houston, the person said.

Chevron is expanding Venezuelan crude sales beyond its own refining network just weeks after US sanctions relief allowed the oil giant to return key managers to the country and resume drilling. The transactions appear to advance President Joe Biden’s dual objectives of re-engagement with the Nicolas Maduro regime and increasing crude supplies available to American fuel makers. 

The cargo of Hamaca will be loaded onto the tanker Carina Voyager in Venezuela this month, according to another person who requested anonymity while discussing non-public information. Phillips 66 was one of the largest buyers of Venezuelan oil prior to the imposition of sanctions about four years ago. 

Chevron followed the Phillips 66 deal with an agreement to sell Venezuelan Boscan oil to another US Gulf Coast refiner, according to the first person. The oil giant declined to comment for this story, citing a policy of not commenting on commercial matters. Phillips 66 didn’t return an email seeking comment.

Chevron, which first struck oil in Venezuela more than a century ago, is set to export at least 1.5 million barrels this month. About half of those barrels will go to Chevron’s Pascagoula refinery in Mississippi. 

Production of oil in Venezuela, once the largest supplier of crude to Gulf Coast refiners, dwindled amid US efforts to oust Maduro. Daily output slumped to 656,000 barrels in November from 1.8 million barrels in 2018. 

Here is a list of tankers sailing between the US and Venezuela this month:

  • Sealeo, laden with 500,000 barrels of Hamaca crude, is expected to arrive in Pascagoula next week
  • Kerala, carrying 250,000 barrels of Boscan oil, also is scheduled to arrive in Pascagoula next week
  • UACC Eagle discharged about 600,000 barrels of US heavy naphtha in Venezuela last week
  • ICE Fighter arrived in Lake Maracaibo where the Bajo Grande terminal is located
  • Carina Voyager arrived in Venezuela to load 500,000 barrels of Hamaca oil, bound for Phillips 66 refinery

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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