Oil and Gas in the Capitals ///
Shortly after taking the oath as interim President of Venezuela on March 10, Nicolas Maduro announced that elections would be held on April 14. This announcement has created a climate of uncertainty in Latin America, due to two factors: the price of West Texas Crude rose 0.77% the day after Chavez’s death and closed at US $90.82/bbl, ending a long erosion in prices and export sales of crude to China dropped in volume. PDVSA exports approximately 640,000 bopd to China, half of which are linked to repayment of loans issued to Venezuela. However, March sales showed a significant decrease in volume over the previous year’s sales. February imports of Venezuelan crude oil were 9% lower than the previous year. During the January-February period, China’s total crude oil imports fell by 2.4%, compared to the previous year’s, to 5.68 million bopd. The General Customs Administration explained the drop as an adjustment for distortions during the Chinese New Year, which fell in January of the previous year. However, this does not explain the 8.4% drop in February, down from 5.92 million bopd in January.
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