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Russia resumes oil shipments to Cuba

05.05.2017 15:47

Russia has begun shipping large quantities of oil to Cuba for the first time this century, sources said, as supplies to the island from crisis-wracked Venezuela have dwindled.

A Russian oil tanker with 249,000 barrels of refined products is due to arrive in Cuba on May 10, according to Reuters shipping sources and others, bringing back memories of when the Soviet Union supplied all of the Communist-run Caribbean island’s energy needs. More tankers apparently will follow.

Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company announced on Wednesday it had signed an agreement with Cuba’s state-run Cubametals to supply 250,000 tonnes of oil and diesel fuel, without providing further details.

The news is sure to raise eyebrows in Washington as its tense relations with Moscow continue, despite President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to improve them.

The Russian company has already become a concern for the United States. Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA last year used 49.9 percent of its shares in its U.S. subsidiary, Citgo, as collateral for loan financing by Rosneft.

According to Jorge Pinon, an oil expert at the University of Texas at Austin, the Cuba deal is equivalent to around 1,865,000 barrels and valued at $105 million at current prices.

In comparison, Russia reported it shipped oil products to Cuba from 2010 through 2015 valued at $11.3 million. Cuba consumes 22,000 barrel per day of diesel and 140,000 barrels per day of oil products.