According to a source reported by Reuters, Chevron is sending two oil tankers to Venezuela, marking the first time that Venezuelan crude will be shipped to the United States in four years.
One of the two tankers will arrive early in January to supply a Chevron joint oil venture with diluents. Venezuelan crude is among the thickest in the world, so it often needs to be blended with a diluent to acheive an exportable grade. The other vessel to pick up crude oil was already reportedly approaching the country’s waters at the time of writing.
The US Government recently granted Chevron a six-month license to play a more active role in four Venezuelan joint ventures that it has interests in, thus allowing it to produce, process, and export oil from these ventures. Speaking to Reuters, Latin American energy expert Francisco Monaldi suggested that the license could evolve further if a recent US-brokered agreement is successful at addressing the political disruption in the country:
“The main scenario is to expect the license will become more flexible as political talks progress. The United States seems to be following a strategy of carrots in a row: Maduro will have to comply with steps in the negotiation.”
Chevron, which also makes Texaco products like gear oil and gas engine oil, is currently the only US-based oil major operating in Venezuela. No profits from the joint ventures will go directly to the state-owned PDVSA—they will instead be used to repay its debt to Chevron.