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PDVSA's crude trading halted by arrest of Alex Saab

PDVSA has ceased its trading operations almost completely, owing mainly to "bankruptcy" of Libre Abordo and arrest in Cape Verde of Alex Saab, PDVSA's de facto largest trader. Latest data from June shows ENI (Delta Captain, Delta Tolmi) and Repsol (Delta Med, Delta Angelica) are due to lift Merey cargoes. 3.6 MB altogether. That's it. There's no one else. To give some context: as of beginning of May, Saab was behind export of more than 26 million barrels of oil. Can chavismo survive on such decreased level of crude exports? Who will fill Saab's role?

Elsewhere, PDVSA instructed some of its joint ventures to stop operations, as storage is reaching capacity. Of particular interest is that Petrozamora, the JV formed between PDVSA, Derwick and Russia's FSB associates, was reportedly told to halt production. That is, PDVSA's swimming in oil, can no longer store it, and no one seems to be willing to buy from toxic Maduro.

Pitty poor Saab, Maduro's Colombian compatriot, who with four nationalities, billions of dollars and chavista super-agent credentials couldn't escape arrest in a desperately corrupt place like Cape Verde. While nearly all copy about Saab produced by the "learned commentariat" focuses on his past gig as main importer / provider of subsidised food stuff, very few are exposing his critical role at PDVSA since Rosneft vacated the space in March. The consequences of his arrest for PDVSA's exports are dire.

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