HOUSTON, March 3 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA has bought two more cargoes of WTI crude after becoming in January Latin America’s first importer of U.S. oil since an export ban was lifted late last year, traders said on Thursday.
PDVSA’s refining unit in the United States, Citgo Petroleum, was the provider of the two first U.S. crude shipments, which arrived in the Caribbean island of Curacao from late January through February, according to ThomsonReuters vessel tracking data.
The most recent delivery was made on tanker Overseas Rubymar, which discharged a 500,000-barrel cargo of WTI crude on Feb. 29 at Curacao after loading at Enterprise Products Partners’ terminal in Houston, according to the data.
Different than the previous ones, the most recent U.S. crude cargo bought by PDVSA was requested through a tender launched on the open market that was awarded this week to French oil firm Total, the sources said. It is scheduled to load in March at Nederland, Texas.
Since it started buying U.S. crude, PDVSA has reduced imports of African light oil. The latest purchase was made in early February from Russia’s Lukoil for a 1-million-barrel cargo of Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude.
PDVSA last year bought 45,000 barrels per day (bpd) of light crudes, mostly from Africa and Russia, and it also imported some 65,000 bpd of heavy naphtha to dilute its extra heavy oil output. (Reporting by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Terry Wade and Grant McCool)