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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cuba Plan Cuts Into Oil Figures

Energy Ministry data showed that crude oil exports fell by 150,000 barrels per day month on month in June, but industry sources and traders said exports actually rose but the government was not counting secret oil-shipment schemes.

Informed traders estimated that exports increased 50,000 bpd in June if an extra 200,000 bpd of crude exports allocated to finance the shutdown of a Cold War-era spy base in Cuba was counted among June exports. They said the government's exclusion of shipments made under the Cuba program showed that Russia, the world's second-largest oil exporter, kept ramping up exports to gradually ease supply curbs it had agreed with OPEC to hold up prices in the first half of the year.

"June was a very good month in terms of the weather in the main ports, so I can't see how exports can be down an astonishing 150,000 bpd. It must be due to the Cuban program," a senior Moscow-based Western trader said.

To finance the shutdown of the Cuban base, which spied on the United States, the government in May secretly granted state oil companies Rosneft and Zarubezhneft extra export allocations for 700,000 tons to be shipped in May and June. An industry source said Tuesday that the allocation was later raised to 1.1 million tons, of which 900,000 were to be exported in June. Cargoes totalling 200,000 tons were shipped in May under the program.

Traders said the increase would bring total June shipments to 2.74 million bpd, not 2.54 million bpd as the Energy Ministry's internal data showed.