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WorldAsiaOil supplies from Russia and Mexico to ease Cuba's fuel crisis

Oil supplies from Russia and Mexico to ease Cuba’s fuel crisis

Since the end of March, the communist island has witnessed long lines of cars at gas stations.

Cuba, under a US embargo since 1962, produces only a third of its daily fuel consumption and faces the worst economic crisis in three decades, with frequent power and food cuts.

However, he has recently received some oil supplies which may ease his situation a little.

The Vessel Finder ship movement tracking site reported that the Mexican tanker “Bisentenario”, with an estimated tonnage of 265,000 barrels, arrived at the port of Havana on Tuesday, and Agence France-Presse noted that it was docked Thursday at the Nico Lopez refinery in the Cuban capital.

At the end of May, the huge tanker “Limo”, flying the flag of Cameroon and coming from Russia, arrived at the port of Matanzas, about 100 km east of Havana, carrying an estimated load of 800,000 barrels.

Jorge Pinion, an energy policy expert at the University of Texas, said oil supplies could “return to an acceptable level” in Cuba.

He pointed out that with an estimated refining capacity of 22,000 barrels per day at the Havana refinery, it would be possible to secure supplies to the capital for three weeks.

“no money”

Pinion said this is the third time since the beginning of the year that the Bicentenario ship has arrived in Cuba, carrying supplies sent by the government of leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. It was not possible at this time to contact the public company “Petroleos Mexicanos” to answer questions from AFP.

Cuban analyst and professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid, Arturo López Levy, pointed out that Mexico, which aspires to play a leading role in the region, calls for the lifting of the American embargo on Cuba, while by maintaining the dialogue with the United States.

On the other hand, relations between Havana and Moscow have intensified in recent months with the implementation of ambitious projects in several sectors and the increase in visits by senior officials between the two countries.

Benyon said, “Cuba has no money, and I doubt they will pay for this oil. I think that Mexico, instead of paying money to send Cuban doctors, does it with oil”, at a time when this country suffers from a shortage of doctors.

Chevron for Cuba

In 2022, Cuba witnessed a fire at its main fuel storage center in Matanzas province, coinciding with a drop in supplies from Venezuela, its main ally in the region.

Benyon said the island produces around 40,000 barrels a day but needs an additional 100,000 barrels to meet its demand, noting that its partners are covering some of the difference, with a shortfall of at least 20,000 barrels remaining.

He pointed out that Cuban refineries could not process Venezuelan heavy oil, which forced Havana in May to resell shipments from Caracas.

Complicating those supplies, according to Benyon, is that US energy giant Chevron can now “carry 100,000 barrels a day from Venezuela to the United States.”

Washington, which has severed ties with Venezuela since 2019, eased its sanctions against Caracas in November, for example allowing Chevron to operate in the Latin American country.

“The Venezuelan oil company has become more interested in delivering these quantities to Chevron,” the expert said. However, Arturo López Levy believes that “if Venezuela emerges from its dispute with the United States and its isolation, the gold mine will resume work”, which will indirectly strengthen the position of Cuba, which will also benefit from a part of this increase. in production.

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Arab Desk
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