U.S. oil producer Chevron Corp. is on track to ship more than 100,000 bbl/d of Venezuelan crude to the United States this month under a license from the U.S. Treasury Department, according to shipping documents and data seen by Reuters.
The U.S. government authorized Chevron to expand production in the sanctioned country and to resume exports of Venezuelan oil, which had remained frozen for years as Washington tried to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to agree to elections.
Chevron exported some 75,000 bbl/d of Venezuelan crude mainly to its Pascagoula, Miss., refinery last month. It also sold cargoes to U.S. refiners Phillips 66 and Valero Energy, according to shipping documents and sources.
So far in February, Chevron has received and exported three cargoes of Venezuelan oil to the same destinations and it has tankers waiting to load five more cargoes before month's end. Total monthly exports are set to average 106,500 bbl/d, the documents showed.
The oil shipped under the U.S. license until now has come from accumulated inventories of heavy crude from its two main joint ventures in Venezuela, called Petropiar and Petroboscan.
Venezuela's state-run PDVSA, which holds majority stakes in the joint ventures with Chevron, also has tapped a portion of Petroboscan's stocks for its own customers and sent Hamaca crude from Petropiar to its refineries, according to the documents.
Chevron declined to comment on the cargoes. It resumed Venezuelan operations in December and began shipping in January under terms set by the United States, a spokesperson said.
Valero and PDVSA did not immediately reply to requests for comment. Phillips 66 declined to comment on commercial activity.
Chevron's uninterrupted exports of Venezuelan oil to the United States this year mark a solid start to its renewed relationship with PDVSA, which has allowed it a larger say in its joint ventures' operations.
PDVSA in January began a large audit of its crude supply contracts to avoid failed payments by some customers, which has led to a tanker bottleneck delaying over 40 MMbbl of crude exports.
But the Venezuelan company has found a good incentive for its business pact with Chevron, which has not suffered delays, through the import of very needed diluents for its extra heavy oil operations, which are being provided by Chevron.
So far this year, Chevron has delivered 900,000 bbl of heavy naphtha to PDVSA and another 450,000-bbl cargo was recently booked for February delivery.
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