Venezuelan crude shipments dead in the water on U.S. sanctions

By Sheela Tobben on 3/20/2019

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s exports to the U.S. hit zero last week after American sanctions on PDVSA.

American refiners took no crude from the Latin American country for the first time in government data going back to 2010. Shipments have been on a steady downtrend since late January when the Trump Administration announced new sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company. That extended a broader slide due to Venezuela’s struggles to maintain production.

American refiners looking to replace the lost Venezuelan heavy, high-sulfur oil aren’t likely to find any solace from OPEC. This week, the cartel and its allies indicated their commitment to keep to its latest production cuts in light of high global inventories.

Canada’s Alberta province is relaxing curtailments, but full pipelines remain a hurdle for shippers wanting to move additional barrels south. Nonetheless, more Canadian oil is heading for U.S. buyers, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

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