PDVSA Studies Chinese Crude, Fuel Oil Transport Options

Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA is evaluating its transport options to ship 160,000 barrels a day of crude and fuel oil to China under contracts signed with the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) last week, PDVSA president and energy and oil minister Rafael Ramírez told BNamericas.

PDVSA signed two contracts on November 11 to supply CNPC with a total 100,000b/d of crude and 60,000b/d of fuel oil, PDVSA said in a statement.

The crude contract is for one year and will consist of various grades of medium to heavy Venezuelan crude oil. PDVSA will supply two kinds of fuel oil - IFO 380 and IFO 180 - for two years.

The contracts are a step towards PDVSA's goal of exporting 300,00b/d of crude and oil products to China, PDVSA refining director Asdrúbal Chávez was quoted as saying in the statement.

It is unlikely PDVSA's own sea transport branch, PDV Marina, can handle the shipments "since what we need is capacity of 1-2 million barrels per shipment," Ramírez said. The minister also said that CNPC would not receive any discount for the crude or fuel oil. Those that criticize the deal talk about high transportation costs of some US$5/b, "but it can still be done, the numbers add up for us," Ramírez said.

The minister stressed Venezuela's commitment to having a stake in the Chinese energy market as part of PDVSA's strategy to diversify exports. "Everybody is competing to sell oil to China and we won't be left behind," he said.

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