From commenter Kermit,
Venezuela is importing oil as a direct result of its disastrous refinery fires a year ago. What is being imported is light sweet crude to act as diluent when blended with the very heavy crude oil so that it can be pumped from the fields to the terminals/refineries.
Without fully functioning refineries/upgraders, no diluent is being made (kind of like diesel)
Also being imported is diesel and gasoline.
There is severe ship congestion since terminals are not set up to receive the crude oil and refined products. Long waiting times (meaning a lot of extra cost in demmurage to shipowners)
Venezuela’s average oil-export price last week fell to $72.80 a barrel, the lowest in four years, pushing the yield on the country’s benchmark bonds to almost 19 percent for the first time since the global financial crisis. Oil accounts for 97 percent of foreign exchange income, which the country needs to pay about $28.5 billion of bond principal due in 2016.
To defend oil prices, Maduro said he sent the country’s foreign minister to five oil producers, including Mexico and Russia, to drum up support ahead of the Nov. 27 meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which Venezuela co-founded. Back in the late 1990s, Venezuela ended a slump in oil prices by cutting production along with other OPEC and non-OPEC producers.
To rumors of selling refineries, Caracas Chronicles says, Go bold, go big