Venezuela’s Oil Product Imports From U.S. Surge Ninefold

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuela imported 196,000 barrels a day of petroleum products from the U.S. in September, more than nine times more than the 20,000 barrels a day the South American country imported in the same month a year earlier, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said today.

Venezuela, which has the largest oil reserves in the world, imported 68,000 barrels a day of finished motor gasoline from the U.S. in September, according to data published on the EIA’s website.

Venezuela is relying on imported petroleum products from the U.S. after a series of stoppages at its refineries, wrote Eurasia Group analysts Risa Grais-Targow and Daniel Kerner in a Nov. 27 report.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state oil company, has been operating its Amuay refinery, the country’s largest, at reduced capacity since an Aug. 25 gas explosion that killed more than 40 people.

“Amuay is still operating at half of its normal capacity, and Ramirez’s claims that it will be back at full capacity by year-end should be taken with a grain of salt, given PDVSA’s history of delays and operational challenges,” Grais-Targow and Kerner wrote.

PDVSA, as the company is known, was processing 400,000 barrels of oil at Amuay Nov. 7 after the explosion knocked the plant offline, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said. Amuay has the capacity to refine 645,000 barrels a day.

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