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Venezuela gas at stake in debate over diesel swaps

  • Market: Electricity, Oil products
  • 27/07/20

A proposed tightening of US sanctions on Venezuela by cutting off diesel swaps could have unintended consequences for natural gas supply, particularly in blackout-prone western Venezuela.

Unlike gasoline that is a main sanctions target, Venezuela is drawing in a stream of diesel in US-authorized transactions conducted by Spain's Repsol, Italy's Eni and India's Reliance.

The latest cargo came in yesterday aboard the Bahamas-flagged Atlas, which docked at El Palito refinery after departing from the Sardinian port of Sarroch, Italy, on 9 July. Two other cargoes en route to Venezuela loaded in Cartagena, Spain. The Happy Lady completed loading on 22 June, and the Chance on 16 July. The three vessels are believed to be carrying a total of up to 925,000 bl of diesel. Three more diesel cargoes totaling 1.3mn bl are coming from India in late August and September.

The US government is currently reviewing the diesel exception, which critics argue was well-intentioned but has helped to prop up President Nicolas Maduro instead.

According to the Venezuelan electrical and mechanical engineers association (Aviem), about 300MW of baseload power generation relies on diesel, in addition to around 100MW of back-up generators, including units that supply hospitals. In all, the diesel-based power requires about 15,000 b/d of supply.

State-owned PdV produces some diesel from its decayed refining system, probably enough to meet the country's modest generation needs, according to Aviem. Other market participants are less sanguine. They say Venezuela needs diesel imports to ensure stable supply for electricity as well as public transport and food distribution. But Aviem is more concerned that a US cutoff of diesel swaps would end up driving down critical gas supply.

Pearl principle

For Repsol and Eni, the swap transactions are partly tied to their gas production from the Perla field, a 16.3 trillion cf offshore deposit which they operate under the Cardon 4 joint venture. PdV, the sole offtaker, pays the producers in kind with crude, which the EU companies balance out with diesel supply in return.

Depending on demand, Perla production fluctuates around 300mn-500mn cf/d, far from the 1.2bn cf/d that it was supposed to have reached in 2020 when operations kicked off in 2015.

If the US ends the diesel exemption, Repsol and Eni would have less incentive to maintain their gas production because there would be no clear way for Venezuela to pay for it, Aviem told Argus.

Repsol and Eni did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment on the swaps or the implications for their gas production.

Currently consuming about 80mn cf/d of Perla gas is TermoZulia, a combined-cycle generation complex in the western state of Zulia that is dispatching 300MW, compared with its intended design capacity of 1.3GW. Even if state-owned utility Corpoelec managed to bring TermoZulia up to its full potential, the gas pipeline from the coast has insufficient capacity to supply it, Aviem says.

Aside from electricity, the Perla gas is absorbed by residential consumers in Maracaibo and by PdV's CRP refining complex, which is functioning at very low levels.

The wider market for the gas was intended to encompass petrochemical and fertilizer plants in western Venezuela, but these are all off line. Pipeline sales to neighboring Colombia originally offered another avenue to monetize the gas, but without a political breakthrough that possibility remains remote.


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17/07/24

New Zealand, Australia carbon brokerage rivalry builds

New Zealand, Australia carbon brokerage rivalry builds

Sydney, 17 July (Argus) — Commodities broker Marex announced today it opened an office in New Zealand and launched a new carbon trading platform for local emissions units, days after New Zealand competitor Jarden rolled out its own trading platform in Australia. Marex will initially focus on execution and clearing services across carbon, electricity and dairy sectors in New Zealand, in both listed and over-the-counter products. Its New Zealand-based and global clients will also be able to trade New Zealand emissions units (NZUs) in a newly launched platform called Neon Carbon. New Zealand clients will have access to clearing directly through Marex on the Singapore Exchange and Australian Securities Exchange, with the latter planning to soon launch physically settled futures contracts for Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), large-scale generation certificates (LGCs) and NZUs . The new Marex team will be led by Nigel Brunel, formerly Jarden's head of commodities in New Zealand. Jarden is considered to have the biggest share of the brokered NZU market through its CommTrade spot trading platform, followed by domestic trading platforms CarbonMatch and emsTradepoint, which is operated by state-owned electricity transmission system operator Transpower New Zealand's Energy Market Services. CommTrade expansion Marex has hired several other former Jarden brokers in recent months in New Zealand and Australia, as it looks to expand its environmental products business across Asia-Pacific . But the increasing brokerage competition in Australia with growing trading volumes for ACCUs in recent years prompted Jarden to roll out CommTrade in the Australian market. Jarden's clients in Australia had until now only a price display mechanism for ACCUs. But they are now able to directly input bids and offers through CommTrade, with real-time matching capabilities displayed on screen. "Transactions remain anonymous until matched, after which clients receive a contract note from Jarden detailing settlement terms," Jarden announced late last week. All transactions are settled directly through the company, with clients also able to trade other products such as LGCs. Marex told Argus it would not be able to share any product details on Neon Carbon at this stage. UK-based broker Icap entered the New Zealand carbon trading market earlier this year with the acquisition of domestic brokerage firm Aotearoa Energy, while several other brokers have entered the ACCU market in recent years. By Juan Weik Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Aumentan importaciones de combustible en México


16/07/24
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16/07/24

Aumentan importaciones de combustible en México

Mexico City, 16 July (Argus) — Las importaciones de combustible en México aumentaron en julio de cara a la temporada de viajes de verano e impulsadas por una disminución de la producción nacional en las refinerías de la estatal Pemex. Las importaciones marítimas a México de gasolina, diésel y turbosina, incluidas las importaciones de Pemex y privados, aumentaron un 18pc a aproximadamente 780,000 b/d del 1 al 10 de julio, frente a 663,000 b/d en el mismo periodo de 2023, según datos de Vortexa. Esto se debió principalmente a un aumento del 66pc en los cargamentos de diésel hasta alcanzar 268,000 b/d, ya que la disponibilidad de este combustible en el mercado ilegal probablemente disminuyó, según fuentes del mercado. Los cargamentos de turbosina se cuadriplicaron hasta los 43,000 b/d en el mismo periodo, ya que Pemex reabastece sus inventarios antes de la temporada de viajes aéreos de verano. Las importaciones de combustible a México habían disminuido a principios de este año, después de que la campaña del gobierno para aumentar la producción de refinerías y reducir su dependencia de las importaciones de EE. UU. comenzara a dar sus frutos, aumentando la producción de gasolina y diésel de Pemex en un 32pc y reduciendo sus importaciones hasta un 25pc en marzo. Pero en abril y mayo, el sistema de refinación de Pemex enfrentó varios problemas, desde un incendio en la refinería de Minatitlán hasta un corte de energía importante en la refinería de Tula, lo que llevó los niveles de procesamiento de crudo de Pemex a un mínimo de cinco meses en mayo. Las tasas de operación de las refinerías en junio se publicarán el 26 de julio. Es probable que el procesamiento de crudo haya caído durante el mes pasado debido a operaciones de mantenimiento en dos refinerías, dijo una fuente familiarizada con las operaciones de refinación de Pemex. El mercado tiene sus dudas sobre la posibilidad una fuerte caída en las importaciones de combustible a México, y algunos refinadores de la costa del Golfo de EE. UU. esperan una fuerte y creciente demanda. Además, incluso si la refinería Olmeca de 340,000 b/d iniciara operaciones comerciales este año, es probable que las otras seis refinerías reduzcan sus tasas de utilización, según fuentes del mercado. Recientemente, Pemex comenzó a vender diésel desde la terminal de distribución de la refinería de Olmeca, pero la cantidad es limitada y el combustible se produjo utilizando materia prima destilada en otra planta. La tendencia a la baja en las operaciones de refinado de México podría continuar en julio a pesar de los esfuerzos del gobierno saliente para aumentar la producción nacional. México ha exportado alrededor de 1 millón de b/d de crudo hasta la fecha en julio, un aumento del 20pc frente a los 847,500 b/d en todo junio, según los datos de Vortexa. Esto indica que es probable que las refinerías de Pemex estén operando a tasas más bajas. Las importaciones de combustible de México podrían continuar su tendencia al alza en los próximos meses, pues los gasolineros esperan una mayor demanda de gasolina durante las vacaciones de verano. Los inventarios de gasolina y diésel de Pemex descendieron un 24pc en junio a 6.2 millones de bl, frente a 8.1 millones de bl en junio de 2023, según una respuesta de transparencia de Pemex a una solicitud de Argus . La empresa deberá aumentar sus importaciones si las refinerías no siguen el ritmo de la demanda. Además, las importaciones suelen aumentar en la segunda mitad del año, impulsadas por la demanda de diciembre y la mezcla de gasolina de invierno de menor precio. México importó más gasolina en el segundo semestre del año en 11 de los últimos 12 años y más diésel en ocho de esos mismos años. Juego de unos pocos El mercado de importación de combustible de México se ha limitado a Pemex y a algunas empresas del sector privado durante los últimos tres años del mandato del presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador, y no hay señales de cambio después de las elecciones presidenciales de junio. Se espera que la presidenta electa Claudia Sheinbaum, que tomará el cargo el 1 de octubre, continúe con las políticas nacionalistas de energía de López Obrador, y tendrá aún menos contrapeso que su predecesor tras la contundente victoria de su partido Morena en las elecciones legislativas. Las importaciones de combustible a México se abrieron a empresas del sector privado después de la reforma energética de 2014, pero la secretaría de energía canceló decenas de permisos de importación de combustible en los últimos años. Por Antonio Gozain Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Tanker owner denies Houthi attack in Med


16/07/24
News
16/07/24

Tanker owner denies Houthi attack in Med

London, 16 July (Argus) — The owner of a tanker reported attacked today in the Mediterranean Sea has said there was no such incident. Petronav Ship Management said its tanker, Olvia , was not targeted as claimed by Yemen's Houthi militants. An attack in the Mediterranean would be a big step outside the Houthi's region of operations, which is limited to the area in and around the Bab el-Mandeb strait at the southern end of the Red Sea. The Houthis claimed two other attacks today in the Red Sea, on crude tanker Chios Lion and oil product tanker Bentley I . By Ben Winkley and Bob Wigin Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Yemen’s Houthis attack ships in Red Sea, Mediterranean


16/07/24
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16/07/24

Yemen’s Houthis attack ships in Red Sea, Mediterranean

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Trump taps Vance as running mate for 2024


15/07/24
News
15/07/24

Trump taps Vance as running mate for 2024

Washington, 15 July (Argus) — Former president Donald Trump has selected US senator JD Vance (R-Ohio) as his vice presidential pick for his 2024 campaign, elevating a former venture capitalist and close ally to become his running mate in the election. Vance, 39, is best known for his bestselling memoir Hillbilly Elegy that documented his upbringing in Middletown, Ohio, and his Appalachian roots. In the run-up to the presidential elections in 2016, Vance said he was "a never Trump guy" and called Trump "reprehensible." But he has since become one of Trump's top supporters and adopted many of his policies on the economy and immigration. Vance voted against providing more military aid to Ukraine and pushed Europe to spend more on defense. Trump said he chose his running mate after "lengthy deliberation and thought," citing Vance's service in the military, his law degree and his business career, which included launching venture capital firm Narya in 2020. Vance will do "everything he can to help me MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN," Trump said today in a social media post. Like Trump, Vance has pushed to increase domestic oil and gas production and criticized government support for electric vehicles. President Joe Biden's energy policies have been "at war" with workers in states that are struggling because of the importance of low-cost energy to manufacturing, Vance said last month in an interview with Fox News. Trump made the announcement about Vance on the first day of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and just two days after surviving an assassination attempt during a campaign event in Pennsylvania. Earlier today, federal district court judge Aileen Cannon threw out a felony indictment that alleged Trump had mishandled classified government documents after leaving office. By Chris Knight Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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