Mexico is considered Cuba’s second largest oil supplier after Venezuela after the tanker Vilma arrived in Matanzas on Monday with a shipment of 390,000 barrels of medium-heavy Mexican crude oil.
According to information confirmed to DIARIO DE CUBA by Jorge Piñón, researcher at the Energy Institute of the University of Texas and one of the greatest experts in the field, The ship arrived at the supertanker base on Monday morning. As usual, the official press did not report this arrival.
According to the data provided by Piñón the Vilma, one of the tankers of the Cuban military company GAESA and flying the island’s flag, left the Mexican Pajaritos oil terminal on September 12.
This is this ship’s second voyage from Mexico to Cuba in just over a month. According to the ship tracking platform, it docked in Cienfuegos on August 6, also from Pajaritos Ship finder.
According to tanker monitoring conducted by Reuters in August Last July, the Vilma made two additional trips from the Mexican Pajaritos terminal to the Cuban refineries in Cienfuegos and Havana respectively.
According to the Refinitiv Eikon platform, the ship previously transported Venezuelan crude oil and fuel to Cuba, but is now being used more frequently for transfers between Mexico and the island.
The Vilma was in the Mexican port of Coatzacoalcos on July 15th and in Pajaritos on the 11th. He remained in Matanzas between July 5th and 7th.
The tanker Delsa, also owned by GAESA, delivered Mexican crude oil from Pajaritos to Cienfuegos in June and then sailed to Venezuela where it loaded oil at the Jose terminal, which it transferred to Santiago de Cuba on August 1.
Apart from the above, The ship Bicentenario, owned by Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex, has made at least four trips from Mexico to Cuba this year according to the mentioned data.
In total, Mexico would have supplied Cuba with about 13,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Olmeca light crude oil between April and July, adding about 2,000,000 barrels of oil during that period. This variety is more suitable for old Cuban refineries than Venezuelan heavy oil.
According to Reuters, the Vilma and the Delsa (named in honor of the late wife of Raúl Castro and General Teté Puebla, respectively) are among the few Cuban oil tankers not sanctioned by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). .
In recent years, Venezuela struggled to produce enough fuel to meet its domestic needs, limiting export opportunities. Likewise, their shipments to Cuba this year fell to 55,000 bpd through July from nearly 80,000 in 2020. They ended August higher, adding 65,000 bpd of supplies of crude oil, heating oil, gasoline and diesel.
Until this year, Mexico had only sporadically sent supplies to Cuba for humanitarian reasons. This has raised suspicions that The government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador could also pay with fuel for the island’s health workers sent to this country.
The fuel crisis in Cuba, which has worsened since April last year, forced Havana to look for new sources of supply, such as Brazil. Russia, for its part, announced in June an agreement with the oil company Rosneft to supply the island with 1.64 million tons of oil and derivatives annually.
The first tanker carrying Russian fuel left the Black Sea port of Tuapse in the middle of the month for Matanzas.
Cuba has been receiving regular fuel deliveries from Russia since last year. At the end of May, the Cameroon-flagged supertanker Limo arrived in the port of Matanzas from the Eurasian country carrying an estimated 800,000 barrels.
Despite this, In recent weeks, Cuban authorities reported power outages due to energy deficits, including fuel shortages. to start the generator sets, fuel oil-based engines and Turkish slides with which they supplement the answer to the national electricity needs that their impoverished thermoelectric power plants, which largely consume heavy oil produced in Cuba, cannot provide.