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Venezuela's PDVSA struggles to discharge some fuel imports -board member

(Adds quotes, information on inventories and tankers, bylines)

By Deisy Buitrago and Marianna Parraga

CARACAS, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Venezuela's state-run PDVSA is facing problems unloading fuel imports for domestic use because the latest U.S. sanctions are making it difficult to complete payments for deliveries, a member of the energy company's board told Reuters on Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Monday imposed the strongest measures yet against the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro, who has overseen the country's economic collapse and an exodus of millions of Venezuelans in recent years.

The sanctions require PDVSA's U.S.-based customers, including its refining arm Citgo Petroleum, to deposit proceeds from imports of Venezuelan oil in special accounts out of Maduro's reach. They also limit U.S. dollar transactions with PDVSA, but do not specify if U.S. fuel can still be exported to Venezuela.

"Even being here and having secured the money, shippers in some cases have intended to block tankers from discharging," said Wills Rangel, a PDVSA director and union chief.

PDVSA, which is short for Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., will insist the fuel cargoes are discharged and will try to find a way to pay for them, according to Rangel. He did not elaborate on how the state-run company would convince suppliers and shipping firms hired to transport the cargoes to accept payments and discharge in PDVSA's terms.

Venezuela's main fuel providers are Citgo and India's Reliance Industries Ltd, which typically ships naphtha, alkylate for gasoline, diesel and components from the United States, according to internal PDVSA trade documents.

PDVSA has fuel inventories at its terminals sufficient to cover a month of consumption, according to Rangel's numbers, as its main refining complex, the Paraguana Refining Center, is working at 40 percent of its 955,000-barrel-per-day capacity.

But sources at PDVSA estimate stocks are closer to 15 days mostly including fuel components, with little finished gasoline or diesel.

As of Jan. 29, over 15 tankers were anchored near PDVSA's ports waiting to discharge some 5.5 million barrels of imported diesel, gasoline, vacuum gasoil, liquefied petroleum gas and naphtha, enough for 13 days more of consumption.

That would give PDVSA more leeway to supply gas stations and power plants if tankers are finally discharged.

Rangel said the firm, which is producing 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude, does not plan to cancel oil supply contracts with U.S. customers even though sanctions make it extremely difficult for clients to send payments to PDVSA.

But PDVSA is eying boosting exports to other destinations.

"An instruction was given to define new exports markets in 15 to 30 days," he said.

(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago, writing by Marianna Parraga Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Chang)