Venezuela's oil exports tumbled in June to the lowest level since 1943 after six tankers set sail without crude cargo to avoid falling under US sanctions, according to the latest international media reports.
Venezuela's state-owned oil firm PDVSA and its joint venture companies exported a total of 17 shipments in June, equating to about 379 thousand barrels per day (bpd) of crude and refined products, which is the lowest figure in 77 years and 18% lower than exports in May.
Fuel imports also fell in June to 66 thousand bpd from 77.1 bpd in May, although three Iranian tankers carried fuel for the gasoline-thirsty country.
Venezuela, the world's largest crude oil reserve holder, has seen its oil industry collapse in recent years due to low prices, economic turmoil and US sanctions.
In January 2019, the US imposed sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil firm PDVSA and its US subsidiary Citgo to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to step down.
The country has long-founded its economy on oil exports, and as the price of crude has depreciated to record lows, Venezuela's economy has sunk. The US has also embarked on a full-scale diplomatic and economic warfare to topple Maduro from power, further spiraling its already beleaguered economy.
Gasoline is a scarce commodity in Venezuela since PDVSA's refining network of a capacity of 1.3 million barrels per day heads towards a near-total collapse due to lack of investment and maintenance.
PDVSA used income from its crude exports to import gasoline from its US subsidiary Citgo, until it was stopped by the administration of US President Donald Trump in January 2019 to pressure the Maduro regime.
By Busranur Begcecanli