Reuters reports having seen shipping documents that imply that Chevron will ship a little under 3 million barrels of crude oil from Venezuela to the US this month.
After a three year ban on US companies operating in Venezuela, the US Treasury Department gave Chevron limited authorisation to pick up some of its operations in Venezuela and ship crude oil to the United States. Under the terms, PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-run oil company, cannot profit directly from the sales, with the funds instead being used to repay the money owed to Chevron by PDVSA.
Until recently, US-based refiners have been using Russian heavy crude as a substitute for the sanctioned but highly prized Venezuelan heavy crude, so a number of refiners have reportedly been approaching Chevron to make purchases. In addition to supplying its own refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi, the shipping documents seen by Reuters suggest that it has also sold crude to Valero Energy and Phillips 66.
Chevron, which also makes the Texaco grease and lubricant range, is currently the only US company that can legally import Venezuelan crude oil, but other oil majors are also looking for similar arrangements. ConocoPhillips, for example, is owed $10 billion by PDVSA, so it could also potentially negotiate a deal with the US Government and PDVSA that would allow it to import crude oil to recover that debt. Repsol of Spain and Eni of Italy are also seeking to get involved in Venezuela again to recover outstanding debts.