Venezuelan oil exports to US come to a standstill
by Ernesto J. Tovar
Venezuelan oil exports to the United States, the main market for the Venezuelan oil, have somewhat improved; but despite the rise, exports are similar to those reported 17 years ago.
Statistics show that during the first quarter of 2011, Venezuelan exports to the United States averaged 929,000 bpd. This represents as low as a 2 % increase compared to the first quarter of 2010, when sales to the North American country averaged 908,000 bpd, according to the numbers provided by the US Department of Energy. Venezuelan oil exports on the average were similar to the shipments of 926,000 bpd reported in the first quarter of 1994.
By the end of 2010, Venezuela had reported its worst year in terms of exports of crude oil and by-products to the United States in the last 21 years, when exports averaged 967,000 bpd, only comparable to sales reported in 1989 (873,000 bpd).
Taking into account this result, crude oil sales to the United States in the first quarter of 2011 improved by 12 % over 32,000 bpd the previous quarter. Based on a monthly review, exports averaged 950,000 in January and March; in February, exports were around 880,000 bpd.
In the red
According to data from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, total oil exports during the first quarter of 2011 averaged 2.35 mm bpd. This number almost coincides with exports reported in the same period of 2010, when Venezuela sold 20,000 bpd more, about 2.37 mm.
Venezuelan oil exports fell 6.3 % in 2010 down to 2.32 mm bpd, in a sector hit by enlarged domestic consumption and shortened production, reaching its lowest since the oil strike of 2002-2003, when exports averaged 2.78 mm bpd.