US reimposes Venezuela oil sanctions

  • : Crude oil
  • 24/04/19

The most immediate impact of the decision is likely to be a re-routing of Venezuelan oil flows, write Haik Gugarats and Kuganiga Kuganeswaran

The US administration on 17 April reimposed sanctions targeting Venezuela's oil exports and energy-sector investments, and set a deadline of 31 May for most foreign companies to wind down business with state-owned oil firm PdV.

The US decision rescinds a sanctions waiver issued in October that allowed Venezuela to sell oil freely to any buyer and invite foreign investment in the country's energy sector. The waiver, which was due to expire on 18 April, was tied to Caracas' agreement to hold a competitive presidential election and allow opposition politicians to contest it.

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro's government reneged on this deal by refusing to register leading opposition candidate Maria Corina Machado or an alternative candidate designated by her, a senior US official says. The US considered the potential effects on global energy markets and other factors in its decision, but "fundamentally, the decision was based on the actions and non-actions of the Venezuelan authorities", the official says. Separate sanctions waivers granted to Chevron and oil field service companies Halliburton, SLB, Baker Hughes and Weatherford will remain in place. Chevron will be allowed to continue lifting oil from its joint venture with PdV, solely for imports to the US.

US-bound Venezuelan crude volumes averaged 133,000 b/d last year, up from nothing in 2022. Chevron says its Venezuela output was 150,000 b/d at the end of 2023. Argus estimated Venezuela's crude output at 850,000 b/d in March, up by 150,000 b/d on the year. PdV says it will seek to change the terms of its nine active joint ventures, starting with Spain's Repsol, in a bid to boost production.

Sanctions impact

The reimposition of sanctions will primarily affect Venezuelan exports to India and China. India has emerged as a major new destination for Venezuelan crude since the US lifted sanctions in October, having imported 152,000 b/d in March. Two more Venezuelan cargoes are heading to India and expected to arrive before the 31 May deadline. The VLCC Caspar left the Jose terminal on 14 March and is expected to arrive at an as-yet-unknown Indian west coast port on 26 April. The Suezmax Tinos left Venezuela on 18 March and is due at Sikka on 30 April.

Chinese imports of Venezuelan Merey, often labelled as diluted bitumen, have been lower since October. Independent refiners in Shandong, which benefited from wide discounts on the sanctioned Venezuelan crude, cut back imports to just a fraction of pre-relief levels as prices rose, while state-controlled PetroChina was able to resume imports under the waiver. The Merey discount to Brent had already widened in anticipation of the reimposition of sanctions.

Separate US authorisations previously issued to Repsol and Italy's Eni to allow oil-for-debt deals with PdV and enable a Shell project to import natural gas from Venezuela's Dragon field to Trinidad and Tobago are expected to remain in place. Repsol imported 23,000 b/d of Venezuelan crude to Spain last year and 29,000 b/d so far this year, according to data from oil analytics firm Vortexa.

US sanctions enforcers as a rule do not disclose the terms of private sanctions licences, and the European companies were not immediately available to comment. The US would still consider future requests for sanctions waivers for specific energy projects, another senior official says.

The US administration says it will consider lifting the sanctions again if Maduro's government allows opposition candidates to participate in the July presidential election. The US' action on 17 April "should not be viewed as a final decision that we no longer believe Venezuela can hold competitive and inclusive elections", a third senior official says.

Chinese imports of Venezuelan crude

Venezuelan crude exports

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24/05/20

Iran's president dies in helicopter crash

Iran's president dies in helicopter crash

Dubai, 20 May (Argus) — Iran's president Ebrahim Raisi has died in a helicopter crash alongside his foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, state media reported early today. The two were confirmed dead more than 12 hours after news broke on 19 May afternoon that a helicopter carrying them had suffered "a hard landing" in Iran's East Azerbaijan province as he was returning from Azerbaijan, where he had inaugurated the Qiz Qalasi dam, alongside his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev. "Ayatollah Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, the eighth president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who had an air accident on Sunday evening as he was returning to [the Iranian city of] Tabriz from the inauguration ceremony of the Qiz Qalasi dam…reached martyrdom, along with his companions," Iran's state news agency Irna reported. The governor of Iran's East Azerbaijan province, Malek Rahmati, and Ayatollah Mohammad Ali al-Hashem, the representative to the province of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were also on board the helicopter. More than 50 search and rescue teams were dispatched, with support from allied countries, including Russia. Moscow said on 19 May it had sent 47 specialists, all-terrain vehicles and a BO-105 helicopter. Difficult weather conditions, nightfall, and the mountainous terrain had "complicated efforts" by the search and rescue teams to first locate the exact site of the crash, and then reach it, said Iran's interior minister Ahmad Vahidi. But officials on 20 May reported that the search had narrowed, with the head of Iran's Red Crescent Pir Hossein Kolivand confirming at around 06:00 local time (02:30 GMT) that the wreckage had been found. On arriving at the site, rescuers confirmed that there were "no signs of life." Images shared by state media showed only the helicopter's tail had remained intact, with the entirety of the helicopter's cabin significantly damaged and charred. The investigation into the cause of the crash is continuing, but all Iranian officials are pointing to the bad weather as the primary reason for the helicopter losing control. Iran's cabinet held an extraordinary meeting in the aftermath of announcement of the president's death. This was chaired by the country's first vice president Mohammad Mokhber, who will assume the president's powers and functions with the approval of the supreme leader, as per the constitution. A council, consisting of the speaker of the parliament, head of the judiciary and the first vice president, will now be obliged to arrange for a new president to be elected within a maximum of 50 days. This requires that an election now be held on or before 9 July. By Nader Itayim Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Houston refiners weather hurricane-force winds: Update


24/05/17
24/05/17

Houston refiners weather hurricane-force winds: Update

Adds Calcasieu comment, update on flaring reporting Houston, 17 May (Argus) — Over 2mn b/d of US refining capacity faced destructive winds Thursday evening as a major storm blew through Houston, Texas, but the damage reported so far has been minimal. Wind speeds of up to 78 mph were recorded in northeast Houston and the Houston Ship Channel — home to five refineries with a combined 1.5mn b/d of capacity — faced winds up to 74 mph, according to the National Weather Service . Further South in Galveston Bay, where Valero and Marathon Petroleum refineries total 818,000 b/d of capacity, max wind speeds of 51 mph were recorded. Chevron's 112,000 b/d Pasadena refinery on the Ship Channel just east of downtown Houston sustained minor damage during the storm and continues to supply customers, the company said. ExxonMobil's 564,000 b/d Baytown refinery on the Ship Channel and 369,000 b/d Beaumont, Texas, refinery further east faced no significant impact from the storm and the company continues to supply customers, a spokesperson told Argus . Neither Phillips 66's 265,000 b/d Sweeny refinery southwest of Houston nor its 264,000 b/d Lake Charles refinery 140 miles east in Louisiana were affected by the storm, a spokesperson said. There was no damage at Motiva's 626,000 b/d Port Arthur, Texas, refinery according to the company. Calcasieu's 136,000 b/d refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, was unaffected by the storm and operations are normal, the refiner said. Marathon Petroleum declined to comment on operations at its 593,000 b/d Galveston Bay refinery. Valero, LyondellBasell, Pemex, Total and Citgo did not immediately respond to requests for comment on operations at their refineries in the Houston area, Port Arthur and Lake Charles. A roughly eight-mile portion of the Houston Ship Channel from the Sidney Sherman Bridge to Greens Bayou closed from 9pm ET 16 May to 1am ET today when two ships brokeaway from their moorings, and officials looked in a potential fuel oil spill, according to the US Coast Guard. The portion that closed provides access to Valero's 215,000 b/d Houston refinery, LyondellBasell's 264,000 b/d Houston refinery and Chevron's Pasadena refinery. Emissions filings with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) are yet to indicate the extent of any flaring and disruption to operations in the Houston area Thursday evening, but will likely be reported later Friday and over the weekend. Gulf coast refiners ran their plants at average utilization rates of 93pc in the week ended 10 May, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), up by two percentage points from the prior week as the industry heads into the late-May Memorial Day weekend and beginning of peak summer driving season. The next EIA data release on 22 May will likely reveal any dip in Gulf coast refinery throughputs resulting from the storm. By Nathan Risser Houston area refineries Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Houston area refiners weather hurricane-force winds


24/05/17
24/05/17

Houston area refiners weather hurricane-force winds

Houston, 17 May (Argus) — Over 2mn b/d of US refining capacity faced destructive winds Thursday evening as a major storm blew through Houston, Texas, but the damage reported so far has been minimal. Wind speeds of up to 78 Mph were recorded in northeast Houston and the Houston Ship Channel — home to five refineries with a combined 1.5mn b/d of capacity — faced winds up to 74 Mph, according to the National Weather Service . Further South in Galveston Bay, where Valero and Marathon Petroleum refineries total 818,000 b/d of capacity, max wind speeds of 51 Mph were recorded. Chevron's 112,000 b/d Pasadena refinery on the Ship Channel just east of downtown Houston sustained minor damage during the storm and continues to supply customers, the company said. ExxonMobil's 564,000 b/d Baytown refinery on the Ship Channel and 369,000 b/d Beaumont, Texas, refinery further east faced no significant impact from the storm and the company continues to supply customers, a spokesperson told Argus . Neither Phillips 66's 265,000 b/d Sweeny refinery southwest of Houston nor its 264,000 b/d Lake Charles refinery 140 miles east in Louisiana were affected by the storm, a spokesperson said. There was no damage at Motiva's 626,000 b/d Port Arthur, Texas, refinery according to the company. Marathon Petroleum declined to comment on operations at its 593,000 b/d Galveston Bay refinery. Valero, LyondellBasell, Pemex, Total, Calcasieu and Citgo did not immediately respond to requests for comment on operations at their refineries in the Houston area, Port Arthur and Lake Charles. A roughly eight-mile portion of the Houston Ship Channel from the Sidney Sherman Bridge to Greens Bayou closed from 9pm ET 16 May to 1am ET today when two ships brokeaway from their moorings, and officials looked in a potential fuel oil spill, according to the US Coast Guard. The portion that closed provides access to Valero's 215,000 b/d Houston refinery, LyondellBasell's 264,000 b/d Houston refinery and Chevron's Pasadena refinery. By Nathan Risser Houston area refineries Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Texas barge collision shuts GIWW section: Correction


24/05/16
24/05/16

Texas barge collision shuts GIWW section: Correction

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Dangote seeks 2mn bl/month WTI crude for 12 months


24/05/16
24/05/16

Dangote seeks 2mn bl/month WTI crude for 12 months

London, 16 May (Argus) — Nigeria's 650,000 b/d capacity Dangote refinery has issued a tender for the supply of 2mn bl of US WTI crude each month, for 12 months starting in July, according to a tender document seen by Argus . Dangote will accept offers on a delivered cif basis to Lekki, Nigeria, and on a fob basis from Houston and Corpus Christi, Tx. It was not stated whether the fob offers would be against WTI or Brent. The tender closes on 21 May. Dangote came online at the end of 2023 and its throughout capacity is planned to reach around 350,000 b/d a its first phase of operations. The refinery received its first crude cargo on 6 December and since then deliveries have averaged 179,000 b/d, according to data from Vortexa. Light sweet WTI accounted for 42,000 b/d, or 23pc of the total. By Lina Bulyk and Kuganiga Kuganeswaran Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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