Trinidad denies supplying fuel to Venezuela

  • Spanish Market: Oil products
  • 07/05/20

Trinidad and Tobago's government is denying any responsibility for the apparent diversion of a gasoline cargo to US-sanctioned Venezuela, which is in the throes of an acute fuel shortage.

The incident highlights political sensitivity surrounding oil trade with Venezuela, and enduring commercial ties between Venezuela's state-owned PdV and nearby islands, even though the oil company has lost most of its nearshore storage and refining assets in recent years.

Inside Trinidad, a controversy has erupted surrounding a 150,000 bl cargo of gasoline purchased by Swiss-based ES Euro Shipping from Trinidad's state-owned Paria Fuel Trading.

According to shipping data, the cargo loaded at Pointe a Pierre in Trinidad aboard the Liberian-flagged medium-range tanker Aldan on 19-21 April, and had been due to arrive at the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba around 6 May. The vessel is currently out of range, according to multiple shipping tracking services, and is widely believed to be in Venezuelan waters.

The tanker's previous registered port of call was PdV's Amuay terminal in western Venezuela on 13-14 March.

"The contract and the bill of lading for that shipment both stipulated Aruba as final destination with all restrictions included," Trinidad's energy minister Franklin Khan said. "When the shipment lands in Aruba, which is when the contract has been fully served, and it is loaded on to some terminal in Aruba, we have lost title to the supply."

He added that "if some of that shipment eventually reached Venezuela, we have no responsibility in that matter. We sold it with a bill of lading to Aruba. We have lost title in Aruba."

In separate remarks, Trinidad's prime minister Keith Rowley also denied any sales to Venezuela.

With the exception of two Russian trading companies, US oil sanctions on Venezuela do not have any direct secondary component. But non-US companies are discouraged from trading with PdV, partly on the basis of US financial sanctions on Venezuela that date back to 2017.

Paria chairman Newman George said the firm conducted due diligence on the transaction before concluding it. ES Euro Shipping started negotiations with Paria on 28 March to purchase fuel, George said. A shipment of 150,000 bl of excess stock was subsequently shipped to Aruba on 21 April, he said.

Trinidad's political opposition has dubbed the sale as "fuelgate" and warned of US scrutiny. Any rift with the US "could gravely damage our very beneficial trade, national security and foreign relations," opposition leader Kamla Persad Bissessar said.

Paria Fuel Trading was created when the government closed the 160,000 b/d Petrotrin refinery in November 2018. The company has been importing around 25,000 b/d of products to meet domestic demand.

In line with Caribbean trade group Caricom, Trinidad espouses non-interference in Venezuela's protracted conflict, and has pushed back against the US regime change policy.

Trinidad and Venezuela maintain close ties, even though efforts to jointly develop cross-border natural gas deposits have been postponed.

In an earlier controversy, Rowley met Venezuela's executive vice president Delcy Rodriguez in Port of Spain in March to discuss "a strategy to jointly combat Covid-19," according to the prime minister's account.

Rodriguez is among the top Venezuelan officials that is subject to targeted individual sanctions.


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30/05/24

Trump found guilty in criminal 'hush money' case

Trump found guilty in criminal 'hush money' case

Washington, 30 May (Argus) — Former president Donald Trump was found guilty today on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in relation to the reimbursement of a $130,000 payment to an adult film star ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The unanimous guilty verdict, from a 12-member jury in New York, will inject further uncertainty into the presidential election on 5 November, where Trump is the presumed Republican nominee and is leading in many polls against President Joe Biden. Trump is the first former US president to face a criminal trial, and his conviction means he will run for office — on a campaign focused in part on rolling back energy sector regulations and expanding drilling — as a convicted felon. Sentencing is scheduled for 11 July. Trump has argued the criminal charges, filed by New York state prosecutors, were "ridiculous" and were a politically motivated attempt to interfere with his campaign. At trial, Trump's attorneys argued against the credibility of a key witness, Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen, who testified that Trump directed the falsification of the business records to conceal a "hush money" payment to the adult film star following an alleged affair. "This was a rigged, disgraceful trial," Trump said following the verdict, "but the real verdict is going to be November 5 by the people, and they know what happened here." Despite the conviction, Trump, if elected, could still serve as president. Trump could face up to four years in prison, and sentencing will be decided by the judge overseeing the case. Trump is separately facing dozens of other felony charges in federal and Georgia state court, but those cases have faced delays and may not go to trial before the election. President Joe Biden's campaign said Trump has "always mistakenly believed" he would not face consequences. Biden's campaign said that despite the verdict, it would be up to voters to decide whether Trump is re-elected. "Convicted felon or not, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president," Biden's campaign said. By Chris Knight Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

California diesel inventories hit all-time low: CEC


30/05/24
30/05/24

California diesel inventories hit all-time low: CEC

Houston, 30 May (Argus) — Combined California diesel stocks fell to the lowest level in California Energy Commission (CEC) history in the week ended 24 May. Combined diesel inventories — including in-state CARB, non-California EPA and renewable diesel — totaled 2.3mn bl after significant draws across grades, despite a sharp increase in-state CARB diesel output during the week, according to CEC data going back to 2005. In-state CARB diesel stocks totaled 1.37mn bl by the end of the week and marked a 13pc drop from the week prior. Other diesel fuel inventories contracted by nearly 17pc to 929,000 bl. Production of in-state CARB diesel jumped by nearly 40pc in the week to 128,000 b/d, while other diesel output — including non-California EPA and renewable diesel — plummeted by more than 44pc to average 51,000 b/d. In-state CARBOB gasoline production dipped by 2.8pc to average 800,000 b/d from the week prior, although inventories added a nominal 1.8pc to a nine-week high of 6.10mn bl. Total gasoline production trended 2.7pc lower at 879,000 b/d. California jet fuel production jumped by nearly 18pc to 321,000 b/d, the highest level since 19 April. Inventories grew by 0.6pc to 3.24mn bl, continuing a trend of largely stable volumes since 10 May. Crude throughputs increased by 9.4pc to 1.44mn b/d as stocks shrank by 19pc to 11.1mn bl — the lowest volume since January 2024. By Jasmine Davis California refining throughputs and storage Commodity 24-May-24 17-May-24 ± Throughputs '000 b/d Crude 1,440 1,316 124 CARBOB 800 823 -23 Total gasoline 879 904 -25 Jet fuel 321 273 48 California distillate 128 92 36 Inventories '000 bl Crude 11,098 13,670 -2,572 CARBOB 6,098 5,988 110 Jet fuel 3,235 3,215 20 California distillate 1,373 1,586 -213 California Energy Commission Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

ISO publishes new marine fuel specification


30/05/24
30/05/24

ISO publishes new marine fuel specification

London, 30 May (Argus) — The International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) published its new marine fuel specification standard today. The 7th edition of the specification standard, ISO 8217:2024, will replace its predecessor, ISO 8217:2017, which has now been withdrawn. The document encompasses seven categories for distillate fuels, four categories for residual fuels at or below 0.5pc sulphur content, five categories for residual fuels blended with fatty acid methyl ester (Fame) biodiesel and five categories for residual fuels above 0.5pc sulphur. Some of the changes had previously been discussed and are confirmed. These include the removal of the previous 7pc Fame limit when blended with distillate marine fuels. This is now possible up to 100pc. The distinction between winter and summer quality for cloud point and cold filter plugging point (CFPP) has also been removed. And there is now a requirement to report the net heat of combustion for a distillate fuel grade as well as the requirement for a minimum cetane number and oxidation stability. By Hussein Al-Khalisy Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Nuevo gobierno de México enfrentará panorama difícil


29/05/24
29/05/24

Nuevo gobierno de México enfrentará panorama difícil

Mexico City, 29 May (Argus) — El nuevo gobierno de México, que asumirá el cargo en octubre, se enfrentará al peor escenario fiscal para un nuevo presidente en décadas, lo que añadirá presión al sector energético. La candidata presidencial Claudia Sheinbaum tiene una sólida ventaja sobre su contendiente Xóchitl Gálvez a escasos días de las elecciones del 2 de junio, de acuerdo a las últimas encuestas. Pero independientemente de la candidata que gane las elecciones, el gobierno entrante se enfrenta a un espiral deficitario que puede requerir recortes profundos y posponer los proyectos prometidos en la campaña. Carlos Ramírez, antiguo jefe del fondo de pensiones Consar de México y actual director de políticas públicas y asesoría de riesgos políticos de Integralia, dijo que el escenario más probable es el de pragmatismo forzado. En caso de ganar, Sheinbaum tendrá oposición continua, pues las proyecciones indican que la oposición asegurará suficientes escaños en ambas cámaras para evitar que el partido Morena obtenga mayorías calificadas, de acuerdo con Ramirez. El déficit federal alcanzó los Ps452,000 millones ($27 mil millones) en el primer trimestre de 2024, más del triple que en el primer trimestre de 2023, entre el gasto preelectoral y la prisa por completar los proyectos insignia del presidente mexicano Andrés Manuel López Obrador: la refinería de Olmeca en Dos Bocas, el corredor interoceánico de Tehuantepec y el Tren Maya de 1,554km. Si se anualiza, el déficit podría alcanzar 6pc del PIB, un nivel nunca visto desde 1988, dijo el Instituto Mexicano de Ejecutivos Financieros (IMEF). "Viendo cuánto se gastó en estos proyectos en el primer trimestre, sabemos que esto no fue suficiente [para completarlos]", dijo Víctor Herrera, jefe de estudios económicos del IMEF. Añadió que el déficit será difícil de reducir rápidamente, y llevarlo a un nivel "prudente" de alrededor de 3 puntos del PIB significaría no solo no terminar los proyectos de infraestructura este año, sino también encontrar recortes de Ps1,000 millones en el presupuesto de 2024. Herrera dijo que el IMEF prevé que el déficit 2024 alcance los 5 puntos porcentuales del PIB probablemente, una cifra reflejada la semana pasada por la agencia de calificación Moody's. Sheinbaum "no abandonará Dos Bocas, el Corredor o el Tren Maya", dijo Ramirez, añadiendo que esto solo sumará presión a Sheinbaum para retrasar su propia agenda, principalmente dirigiéndose a los cuellos de botella de energía e infraestructura para la atracción de inversión al país. También ha detallado su plan por $13 mil millones en inversiones para proyectos de energía limpia. Pero al financiar sus proyectos, dijo Moody's, la trayectoria del crédito soberano de México depende de la capacidad de la próxima administración para ejecutar la consolidación fiscal y evitar un mayor deterioro. La cuestión de Pemex Las perspectivas de financiación podrían empeorar si el gobierno continúa ofreciendo apoyo extraordinario a la empresa estatal Pemex sin modificar el modelo de negocio hacia la rentabilidad, una perspectiva compartida por Ramirez, el IMEF y Moody's. "Aunque esperamos que el próximo gobierno continúe apoyando a [Pemex], la estrategia empresarial actual de la compañía estatal de petróleo ha aumentado sus riesgos crediticios", dijo la agencia. Y mientras que Sheinbaum y la candidata de la oposición Gálvez están de acuerdo en la importancia de la transición a las energías renovables, "Sheinbaum probablemente seguirá expandiendo el negocio de refinerías, lo que traerá mayores pérdidas." Moody's dijo que el próximo gobierno también tendrá menos capital político que la administración actual, "permitiendo que la gobernanza y los riesgos sociales se vuelvan más destacados", añadió Moody's, aunque Sheinbaum tenga el apoyo continuo de López Obrador. "Esperamos que mantenga en gran medida el modelo de negocio existente para Pemex, haciendo hincapié en la soberanía energética, aunque ha declarado la necesidad de una estrategia de transición energética", afirmó Moody's. Dicho esto, "México se está quedando atrás en sus planes de transición hacia las energías limpias después de años de baja inversión", añadió Moody's. Sin embargo, Sheinbaum busca continuar apoyando a la empresa eléctrica estatal CFE como la fuerza dominante en el sector de la energía eléctrica. México va en camino para no alcanzar sus objetivos de energía limpia, y los cortes de energía se han vuelto más frecuentes, lo cual es atractivo para los inversores. Por James Young Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Guven plans regular bitumen cargo flows into Burgas


29/05/24
29/05/24

Guven plans regular bitumen cargo flows into Burgas

London, 29 May (Argus) — Turkish bitumen trading and supply firm Guven is planning to ship regular bitumen cargoes to the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas, with most of the volumes to be moved by rail to the inland Floresti terminal in Romania. The first such railcar shipment, amounting to around 3,000t, reached Floresti at the end of last week after ship-to-railcar transfer at Burgas of the first bitumen cargo moved by Guven from its Black Sea bitumen terminal at Trabzon to the Bulgarian port on board the 4,999 deadweight tonne (dwt) bitumen tanker Sidra , that arrived at Burgas on 22 May. The cargoes from Trabzon are sourced from Iraqi Kurdistan refinery production. The 5,500m³ Floresti terminal is operated by Guven's local unit Guven Asfalt Romania that also operates a 16,500m³ bitumen storage and supply facility at Medgidia situated along a canal running from the main oil and bitumen terminal facilities at the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta. The remainder of the first Sidra cargo volumes, estimated at 1,000-1,500t, is likely to be earmarked for supply into an inland Bulgarian terminal operated by a local firm. Guven has already shipped its second consecutive Trabzon loading cargo on the Sidra , which arrived at Burgas yesterday. Several more such cargo movements are planned over the coming peak demand season months for the road paving heavy product, with Guven considering whether to continue those operations using the Sidra , or potentially charter a larger bitumen tanker in the 5,500-6,000dwt size range for those operations. The Turkish firm is at the same time looking ahead to receiving its new-build bitumen tanker, the 8,500 dwt Havva Ana , currently being completed at a Chinese shipyard . That tanker is also expected to be utilised for Black Sea shipments mainly targeting the key Romanian market, as well as potential movements on cross-Mediterranean routes. The Guven flows will add to Romanian market competition, with Bulgarian and Greek truck exports to Romania consistently priced on a delivered basis at significantly lower prices than for domestically produced volumes at Rompetrol's Vega refinery in Ploiesti, the country's only bitumen producing refinery. The Bulgarian flows largely come from Lukoil's Burgas refinery that's estimated to be currently producing 25,000-30,000t per month of bitumen for supply into domestic and regional export markets. By Keyvan Hedvat Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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