Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cuba Imports First Russian Crude Since Collapse Of Soviet Union

Cuba Imports First Russian Crude Since Collapse Of Soviet Union
By Zainab Calcuttawala - May 03, 2017, 4:37 PM CDT

Cuba will process Russian oil for the first time in two decades, after
supplies from Venezuela saw an eight-month hiatus that ended in March,
according to a new report from Reuters.

On May 10th, a vessel with 249,000 barrels of Russian crude will reach a
Cuban port, which mimics the Soviet Union's previous support of Fidel
Castro's regime prior to the 1991 disintegration of Russia's former
political arena.

The Venezuelan halt had caused Cuba's Cienfuegos refinery to stop
production due to lack of supplies. State-run PDVSA had scaled back the
export of its lighter grades to the Caribbean in order to use the fuel
to dilute heavier grades.

Cienfuegos is a Soviet-era refinery that had originally been built to
process Russian crude. PDVSA later upgraded the facility to refine
65,000 barrels of Venezuelan crude a day.

Rosneft announced on Wednesday that the shipments were part of a new
agreement with state-run Cubametals, which authorized the import of
250,000 tonnes of Russian oil and diesel on an unspecified timeline.
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"It is very clear that Cuba is diversifying its long-term supply
contracts in the event that its October 2000 subsidized oil agreement
with Venezuela is terminated," Jorge Pinon, an oil industry expert at
The University of Texas at Austin, said.

Relations between Cuba and the United States – Russia's main
geopolitical rival – had begun thawing during former President Barack
Obama's administration. President Donald Trump praised Russian President
Vladimir Putin for his "leadership" during the 2016 election campaign,
but Congress is in the midst of investigating ties between the new White
House and Moscow. This process is one of the reasons why the U.S. and
Russia remain cold to each other, despite Trump's promises to bridge the
gap between the superpowers.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for

Source: Cuba Imports First Russian Crude Since Collapse Of Soviet Union
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