Russia sends the first shipment of crude oil to Cuba

Russia sends the first shipment of crude oil to Cuba

Havana (Efe).- Russia sent a ship to Cuba loaded with 650,000 barrels of crude oil – worth an estimated $50 million – to alleviate the energy crisis, with a power outage affecting half the territory that extended to more than 10 hours a day. . .

According to data provided to EFE by the Energy Institute at the University of Texas (USA), via oil tanker tracking platforms, the tanker left Russian territory on March 9 and is expected to arrive in Matanzas (western Cuba) at the end of this month. . This is the first shipment of crude oil from Moscow to Havana in more than a year, according to the same source.

This departure also comes after weeks of high-level official visits between the two countries. The most recent was the visit of the island's Minister of Foreign Trade, Ricardo Cabrisas, to the Eurasian country a few days ago.

For his part, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in Cuba last February.

During Cabrisas' stay in Moscow, Russia granted a new loan to Havana – for an undisclosed amount – “to guarantee stable supplies of oil, petroleum products, wheat and fertilisers,” according to the state agency Prensa Latina.

Shipments from Venezuela

The Cuban government recently confirmed that part of the problems in generating electricity is due to a decline in crude oil imports from allied countries.

Although the island's executive authority did not identify it by name, data tracking maritime movement indicates Venezuela and Russia itself in this region.

According to the University of Texas Energy Institute, in the first two months of the year, Caracas exported to Cuba an average of only 35,000 barrels per day, below the average of 57,000 barrels in 2023 and at an astronomical distance from Earth. 100 thousand barrels per day in 2016

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The lack of exports from Russia throughout the past year also affected this, especially after it shipped about one million barrels in 2022.

Also, the data shows that Mexico – which, although it did not completely fill Moscow's gap – sent more than 5 million barrels to the island last year, with a total value of $391 million.

In response to a question by EFE, Cuban academic Jorge Pinion, a researcher at the University of Texas Energy Institute, described the situation as a “bottleneck” that originated in Venezuela. He stressed that storage problems are also added to import problems, after the fire that broke out in the main fuel assembly center in Matanzas, in 2022.

Power outage in Cuba

The Cuban electrical system relies largely on fossil fuels for its operation.

However, its generating plants exceed their programmed life expectancy – over 40 years – and are constantly shut down either due to breakdowns or repairs.

Reductions in the generation deficit have increased significantly since the beginning of the year.

Cuba's Minister of Energy and Mines, Vicente de la O Levy, told state media this week that the “situation will partly improve” in the coming days, but that there will be “tense” and “critical” moments due to Cuba's financial difficulties. To get oil abroad.

Aygen Marsh

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