HAVANA, July 14th Venezuelan shipments of crude oil to Cuba have fallen 13 percent in the first six months of 2017, according to official PDVSA data seen by Reuters this week.
Havana reduced electricity use quotas for its state-run businesses by 28 percent last year, but the government did not put caps on residential consumption.
Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez set up contracts with communist Cuba regarding oil supplies back in 2000. In return, Cuba offers Venezuela doctors and other medical services.
The documents showed that PDVSA sent Cuba 72,350 barrels of crude and refined products per day through June – 13 percent less than the same period last year.
Currently, Cuba relies on foreign oil for more than two thirds of its daily consumption, with over 100,000 barrels of crude flowing from Venezuela every day for years. Their dependence on Venezuelan oil has come to an end as President Nicolas Maduro struggles to reduce the effects of a production shortage that has caused mass shortages of day-to-day and medical supplies.
“Cuba needs at least 70,000 bpd from Venezuela to cover its energy deficit and avoid deeper rationing. A larger or total loss of the Venezuelan supply would have a high political and financial cost for Cuba,” as it attempts to prepare for an increasing number of tourists, this year, said Jorge Pinon, an energy expert at the University of Texas in Austin.
Cuba is currently probing for oil in its own offshore wells, with some hope of finding a vast untapped reserve, but so far, they’ve run dry. In response, they’ve reached out to Russia. In May, Russia exported its first shipment of oil to Cuba in decades. The tanker, carrying 250,000 barrels of Russian oil, was just the first installment of a total 1.9 million barrels to be sent by the Russian government-owned oil company, Rosneft.