News / Americas

Venezuela Becomes Net Gasoline Importer in 2012

FILE - A Venezuelan gasoline station.
FILE - A Venezuelan gasoline station.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Venezuelan Protesters Burn Leaders in Effigy

Hundreds take to streets of Caracas Easter Sunday demanding ‘resurrection of democracy; President Maduro’s image among those burnt
More

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians
More

Audit Finds US Housing Aid Program in Haiti Falls Short

Results show post-earthquake USAID program has delivered only a quarter of planned number of homes at nearly twice the budgeted cost
More

Mourning, Memories in Garcia Marquez's Languid Hometown

Nobel Prize-winning author's early years in Aracataca inspired characters, tales for major novel
More

Powerful Earthquake Rattles Mexico

US Geological Survey says quake measuring 7.5 on Richter scale, was centered in the western state of Guerrero, north of Acapulco beach resort
More

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support
More