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Venezuela's crude sales to the U.S. fell below 600,000 bpd in 2017

From Reuters - January 11, 2018

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Venezuelas crude oil sales to the United States fell for a second month in a row in December, knocking the years average to 593,047 barrels per day (bpd), the lowest annual level since 1991, according to Thomson Reuters trade flows data.

A severe production drop in the South American country has hurt its oil exports and domestic refining, and worsened an economic recession now entering into its fifth year. Venezuelas state-run oil company PDVSA is mired in a widespread corruption investigation that has stalled decision making.

Financial sanctions on Venezuela imposed last year by U.S. President Donald Trumps administration have particularly affected PDVSAs oil flows to and from the United States as the company and some of its customers struggle to get commercial credit for transactions.

The International Energy Agency, which coordinates the energy policies of industrial nations, and several analysis firms expect Venezuelas crude output to lose another 500,000 bpd this year due to lack of investment, mounting debts, sanctions, a brain drain caused by low salaries and a new management with no experience in the oil industry.

In total, the United States received 419 crude cargoes of Venezuelan crude last year versus 530 cargoes in 2016, according to the data. The largest receivers were PDVSAs refining unit Citgo Petroleum and Valero Energy Corp.

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