Venezuela's PDVSA allocates heavy crude cargo to Italy's Eni
By Marianna Parraga
HOUSTON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Venezuela's PDVSA has allocated an oil cargo to a unit of Eni for a February loading, the first to the Italian firm following a contract suspension this year by new management at the state-run company, people familiar with the matter said.
Eni and Spanish oil firm Repsol in May last year received authorizations from the U.S. State Department to take the crude to Europe for outstanding Venezuela debt and dividends, an exception to U.S. oil sanctions on Venezuela.
The cargo allocations, which worked intermittently last year, had not happened this year amid a large audit instructed by PDVSA's new boss Pedro Tellechea to avoid failed payments by some customers.
Eni received two cargoes of Venezuelan diluted crude in June-July and two more shipments in November. The crude was exported in Eni-chartered vessels and delivered partially to Repsol oil refineries in Spain, according to PDVSA's documents and vessel monitoring services.
The latest cargo assigned to Eni is scheduled to load through ship-to-ship transfers at Venezuela's Amuay STS area. PDVSA recently has struggled to receive larger tankers at its West coast ports due to infrastructure issues, the people said.
Eni declined to comment on individual transactions but said it is operating "in compliance with the applicable sanction regimes."
Repsol and PDVSA did not reply to requests for comment.
U.S. oil major Chevron, which also was authorized by Washington last year to receive Venezuelan oil cargoes for debt, in January exported 2.3 million barrels of Venezuelan heavy crude to the United States.
One cargo has been exported so far in February by Chevron to its Pascagoula, Mississippi, refinery and another is about to depart Venezuela, monitoring data showed. (Reporting by Marianna Parraga in Houston and Mircely Guanipa in Maracay, Venezuela; Additional reporting by Francesca Landini in Milan; Editing by Andrea Ricci)