In the last two weeks, the Government of Cuba bought more than three million barrels of crude oil and fuel from Venezuela, oil from Russia, European diesel and liquefied petroleum gas from the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago.for an average of about 230,000 barrels per day (bpd), as a contingency measure after the fire that destroyed a large part of the supertanker base in Matanzas.
According to the Refinitiv Eikon company, Havana is using a combination of ship-to-ship transfers and floating oil storage, seeking to alleviate fuel shortages and power outages. after the fire, ship tracking data cited by Reuters showed.
The Island Government would have increased fuel imports from Europe and the Caribbean, while another 200,000 barrels of Venezuelan fuel oil for power generation will arrive at the end of this month on the Cuban-flagged tanker Petion, operated by the military conglomerate GAESA, according to the schedules of the Venezuelan state company PDVSA.
Havana is also using a Panamax Equality tanker to receive oil from larger vessels originally destined for Matanzaswhich has remained anchored off the bay of that city, according to monitoring data from the ship, providing floating storage.
Other ships with imports —Vilma, Lourdes, Sandino and Esperanza— unloaded their fuel supplies in the ports of Antilla, in Holguín, and Cienfuegos, according to the same sources.
Matanzas berths for loading and unloading large tankers are operational, but remain disconnected from storage facilitieswhile authorities assess the damage to pipelines, pumping stations and tanks, said Jorge Piñón, director of the energy program for Latin America and the Caribbean at the University of Texas at Austin.
Miguel Díaz-Canel said two weeks ago that he was evaluating the availability of storage and refining after the fire to put into operation a new system that allows the rapid discharge and processing of fuels entering the country.
Despite this, Wednesday night the Minister of Energy and Mines, Liván Arronte Cruzhe said on the television space of the Round table that among the factors that cause the extreme blackouts suffered by Cubans are the limitations with fuel due to the increase in prices and the US embargo.
“The fuel must be brought from Asia, from Europe, it cannot be obtained in the region”he commented, ignoring the millionaire monthly shipments from Venezuela and without mentioning these now revealed purchases.
The blackouts have caused an increase in social unrest throughout Cubawhich climaxed at the end of last week in Nuevitas, Camagüey, where hundreds of residents demonstrated against the regime for three consecutive days, and ended up facing the repressive forces sent to repress them.
Likewise, there is an increase in strange fires and attacks against state facilities throughout the Islandas evidence of the critical moment in the relationship between Cubans and their authorities.