Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Global Impact: In 2002 Venezuela Had Only 12 Crude Tankers, Today It Has 54, Thanks to China

According to The Latin American Tribune, two oil tankers manufactured in China arrived Friday (October 4) in Venezuela to join the fleet of state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), the country's state-owned oil company.

“This is a VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier); that means it’s a ship that carries 2 million barrels. Never before have we had a vessel of those characteristics in Venezuela,” Petroleum and Mining Minister Rafael Ramírez said at PDVSA’s José Antonio Anzoategui complex in Puerto La Cruz.

The tanker is “almost the same size as an aircraft carrier,” marveled Ramírez, who is also president of PDVSA.

Three more VLCCs are under construction in China and the last of them should arrive in Venezuela in May 2014.

The first of four smaller, Chinese-made Suezmax tankers, which hold 1 million barrels, also reached the Andean nation on Friday, Ramírez said.

“In 2002 we had only twelve ships,” the minister said. “Now, we operate 81 ships, 54 of them under control of the Republic via our own vessels and our joint enterprises.”

COMMENT: The additional tankers are integral to Venezuela’s strategy of finding new markets for its oil, Ramírez said, noting that the country currently exports 640,000 barrels per day to China and 400,000 bpd to India.

PDVSA presented in March the first four of 26 tankers the company commissioned from Japanese shipyards as part of efforts to make the new export routes “economical and viable.”

Venezuela, which has the world’s largest oil reserves by some measures, exports roughly 2.5 million bpd in all and nearly half of the total goes to the United States, despite adversarial political relations between the two countries.