- Title: Venezuelan oil flotilla arrives in Cuba but energy woes not over
- Date: 4th October 2019
- Summary: MAYABEQUE, CUBA (FILE - SEPTEMBER 20, 2019) (REUTERS) EXTRACTOR GENERAL WORKING IN OIL WELL VARIOUS FIREPLACES IN THE PETROLEUM EXTRACTION AREA
- Embargoed: 18th October 2019 18:47
- Keywords: Cuba oil petrol economy Russia
- Location: HAVANA, MAYABEQUE, MATANZAS, CUBA
- City: HAVANA, MAYABEQUE, MATANZAS, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Topics: Government/Politics,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA004AZOO3LZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A flotilla of largely Venezuela-owned vessels carrying crude and fuel gave Cuba some respite this week from shortages in the wake of tougher U.S. sanctions while Russia highlighted its commitment to helping the island develop its energy sector during a visit of the prime minister.
But support from two of its closest allies look unlikely to resolve Cuba's chronic energy problem and the government has retained energy-saving measures introduced over the past month as tensions with the Trump administration continue to flare and it braces for the next crisis.
Havana warned last Sept. 12 that it had not secured enough energy shipments of refined products for the rest of the month due to U.S. sanctions over its support for embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The government swiftly deepened austerity measures it first started implementing in 2016 due to a steep fall in Venezuelan shipments in the wake of that country's own economic implosion.
Cuban authorities cut public transport, decreased production at some factories and encouraged the use of more animal-powered vehicles and wood-fired ovens.
But since late September, at least eight tankers carrying some 3.83 million barrels of crude and fuel have been shipped from Venezuela, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and internal data from State-run PDVSA, compared to five vessels loaded with 1.98 million barrels sent during the first half of September.
Venezuela's oil exports to Cuba rose to almost 143,000 bpd, more than double the volume sent in previous months.
There are no longer multi-hour queues at gas stations for gasoline, only for diesel, which remains elusive.
Transport officials this Wednesday said they would be upping the frequency of train and bus departures once more that it has cut drastically although not fully restoring to "normality".
President Miguel Diaz-Canel celebrated the fact the country had managed to avoid blackouts in September in an editorial in the Communist Party newspaper Granma entitled "No fear of the current juncture".
Meanwhile, the two-day official visit of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that concludes on Friday sent a signal the island is not alone.
The two countries are working towards reducing Cuba's dependence on energy imports by improving its energy efficiency and collaborating on oil exploration, a senior Russian government official told TASS news agency.
(Production: Nelson Gonzalez, Mario Fuentes, Anett Rios, Rodrigo Gutierrez)
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