HAVANA – Officials with Venezuela’s state-run oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), have rejected allegations that the firm has reduced crude oil exports to Cuba.
“There has not been any issue or reduction with the supply of Venezuelan oil to Cuba. There is a technical and engineering difficulty at the Cienfuegos refinery,” said Luis Morillo, PDVSA’s general manager in Cuba, at a press conference on Tuesday.
“This is a technical problem all refineries are facing. We will close certain areas of the plant for 120 days over the course of the year to fix these issues and update certain processes,” he added.
Cuba, long reliant on Venezuela as its top energy supplier under the Petrocaribe alliance of nations that receive preferential terms for oil, has received some 53,500 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from PDVSA this year, a 40 percent decline from the first half of 2015, according to the company’s internal trade data, Reuters reported last week.
Venezuela has reportedly partially offset the smaller crude shipments to Cuba by boosting exports of refined products such as fuel oil, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
But overall shipments to Cuba, including both crude and refined products, still declined 19.5 percent to 83,130 bpd in the first half of this year, Reuters said.
As a result, some joint ventures and state-owned firms in Cuba were recently ordered to reduce power usage.