Houston/Punto Fijo — Venezuela’s oil exports rose in March to the highest monthly average since August, boosted by a resumption of loadings after an export freeze and by rising cargoes assigned to Chevron Corp, according to documents and shipping data.
State oil company PDVSA has reinstated two export contracts after a January freeze by new boss Pedro Tellechea: a medium-term contract with Hangzhou Energy, and another with Portugal-based Adinius Sociedade de Servicios, the documents showed.
Oil swap deals with Chevron, Cuba’s state company Cubametales and Iran’s Naftiran Intertrade Co (NICO) – and most exports of oil byproducts – have continued flowing without interruption during the freeze.
Eight very large crude carriers (VLCC) set sail from Venezuelan ports, which eased a tanker bottleneck that had built up since early 2023.
Chevron received and exported about 115,000 bpd of Venezuelan heavy crude to the U.S., an increase from about 80,000 bpd in February.
PDVSA and Venezuela’s oil ministry did not reply to a request for comment. Hangzhou Energy and Adinius Sociedade de Servicios could not be reached for comment.
An Iranian supertanker, the Sea Star III, arrived in Venezuelan waters on the weekend carrying 2.1 million barrels of condensate to dilute PDVSA’s oil, according to monitoring firm TankerTrackers.com. The vessel, owned by National Iranian Tanker Company, had its tracker offline since February when it set sail from Assaluyeh.
As part of an extended audit of its supply contracts, PDVSA is reviewing accounts of Geneva-based firm Maroil Trading, owned by Venezuelan shipping magnate Wilmer Ruperti, over outstanding debts from petroleum coke supply. Ruperti last week said the situation “was resolved.”
All contract revisions are part of a widespread anti-corruption probe that has resulted in the arrest of more than 40 officials and businessmen, according to the Venezuelan attorney general’s office. Powerful Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami resigned last month amid the investigation.
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