News / Americas

    Venezuela Becomes Net Gasoline Importer in 2012

    FILE - A Venezuelan gasoline station.
    FILE - A Venezuelan gasoline station.
    Reuters
    Venezuela in 2012 became a net importer of gasoline as a result of escalating problems at its refineries and increasing demand for fuel in its internal market, joining a growing list of countries that struggle with fuel supplies despite ample oil reserves.
     
    The OPEC nation exported 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) of gasoline and naphtha last year, according to state oil company PDVSA's annual report. But it imported an average of 66,300 bpd of the same fuels from the United States alone, according to U.S. Energy Department data.
     
    Fuel imports jumped following an August explosion and fire at the country's largest refinery, Amuay, that killed more than 40 people and caused extensive damage to its storage facilities.
     
    “Between the days of the incident and the resumption of operations, PDVSA imported blending components worth a total of $1.572 billion,'' the company said in its financial results.
     
    The report does not provide import volumes. PDVSA did not respond to requests for comment.
     
    Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez has consistently denied that the country is importing finished gasoline, insisting the purchases have been limited to blending components.
     
    But data provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA, shows most of the imports between September and January from the United States were finished gasoline and diesel.
     
    Crude exporters in the region including Mexico and Ecuador depend on energy markets to meet fuel needs because of insufficient investment in refining.
     
    Venezuelans enjoy a massive fuel subsidy that makes gasoline the cheapest in the world, letting drivers fill their tanks for less than the equivalent of a dollar. That spurs fuel smuggling to neighboring Colombia and Brazil.
     
    In addition, the government is installing diesel generators to reduce dependence on hydroelectric power, which has increased demand for diesel.
     
    The Amuay fire and explosion caused extensive damage to one of the 635,000 bpd facility's distillation units and forced a temporary halt to the entire facility. The refinery resumed full operations in April.
     
    Losses at PDVSA's domestic refining and sales division more than tripled to $8.4 billion in 2012 from $2.3 billion the previous year as a result of these factors.
     
    Between September and January, PDVSA imported an average of 148,000 bpd, most of which was gasoline, according to the EIA.
     
    Although import volumes fell in February, PDVSA continues seeking to acquire fuel in international markets, according to traders. The company's 2013 targets show crude and fuel exports dropping by 8 percent this year.
     
    PDVSA's earnings statement says purchases of crude and fuel rose 47 percent to reach $26.3 billion in 2012, while purchases from third parties by foreign subsidiaries such as U.S.-based refiner Citgo dropped 3.4 percent.
     
    The tight supplies of fuels were reflected in a sharp decline in sales to Citgo, which has traditionally received finished fuel from PDVSA through supply contracts.
     
    Fuel sales to Citgo reached only $302 million last year compared with $4.2 billion the year before.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    Haiti Braces for Trouble as Election Panel Report Is Due

    Haitians are preparing for trouble as electoral verification commission is due to deliver results of its monthlong review of last year's contested presidential and legislative elections

    Brazil Launches Manhunt for Alleged Gang Rapists

    Police identifies four of 30 suspects who gang raped teenager and posted video online

    'El Chapo' Lawyers Split on Extradition Case

    Lawyers can't agree on staving off extradition to US

    Colombia Rebels Release Three Journalists

    All three, including a Spanish correspondent working on a story about coca growers, were released Friday

    WHO Dismisses Changing Summer Olympics for Zika

    WHO says canceling or postponing the Olympics will not alter the international spread of Zika virus

    Global Growth the 'Urgent Priority', G-7 Leaders Conclude

    A final statement of addressed broad issues facing the global economy while glossing over a difference of opinions among leaders over fiscal stimulus