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HOUSTON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Sales of Venezuelan oil to the United States increased 10 percent in September versus the previous month to 786,835 barrels per day (bpd) due to larger exports of crude blends, according to Thomson Reuters Trade Flows data.
Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA and its joint ventures have reduced shipments of grades mixed with naphtha in recent months, using more domestic and imported light oil to formulate crude blends instead, according to company sources.
This strategy has resulted in an increase of Merey crude exports, a heavy blend mostly sold to the United States and Asia.
Sales of Merey crude to the United States rose to 319,000 bpd in September, more than double the volume shipped in August. Exports of diluted crude oil (DCO) made with naphtha declined to 106,000 bpd versus 153,700 bpd the previous month, according to the data.
Main receivers of Venezuelan oil in the United States last month were PDVSA's refining unit Citgo Petroleum with 14 cargoes, followed by Phillips 66, Valero Energy and Chevron Corp.
Venezuela's crude output has significantly declined this year amid a long cycle of low prices that has affected its exports, but official figures showed a slight recovery in September to 2.42 million bpd. (Reporting by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Chris Reese)