Petroleum Now Cuba's Second Export
Oil exports are now Cuba’s No. 2 export—overtaking pharmaceuticals— producing $880 million in 2008 revenues, according to a Foreign Trade Ministry report seen by Reuters.
A table in the report said nickel accounted for 39% of exports, oil for 22% and pharmaceuticals 9%, followed by sugar and tobacco products each at 6% and other products at 18% The government reported exports, excluding tourism and other services, were $4 billion in 2008, but has yet to publish any details.
Cuba consumes a minimum of 150,000 barrels per day in petroleum products, of which up to 92,000 barrels a day comes from regional energy giant Venezuela. The rest is pumped from the northwest coast along with natural gas for power generation.
Cuba has exported small amounts of the heavy crude it produces, but this would not account for the big jump in 2008 exports, local and foreign analysts told Reuters. The analysts said a likely explanation would be exports from a joint venture refinery with Venezuela opened in December 2007, which processed 65,000 bpd in 2008 for local consumption and export to area countries.
State-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) reported that it delivered 115,000 bpd of crude and refined products to Cuba in 2008, of which 93,300 bpd were sold to Cuban state-run oil monopoly Cubapetroleo, and 27,500 bpd was PDVSA’s equity share delivered to the refinery in Cienfuegos.
“Based on published data, the revenues seem to represent Cubapetroleo’s equity share of the Cienfuegos Cupet-PDVSA joint venture refinery exports,” said Jorge Piñón, former president of Amoco Oil Latinoamerica and researcher at the University of Miami’s Center for Hemispheric Policy.