HOUSTON - Venezuelan crude oil exports to the United States increased for the second month in a row to 808,000 barrels per day (bpd) in August, fueled by larger sales of diluted crude oil and other blends, according to Reuters trade flows data.

The OPEC-member country has been buying African crudes since June while importing naphtha, using both of them as diluents to make exportable blends.

The United States received a total of 49 cargoes of Venezuelan crude last month from state-run PDVSA and its joint ventures, a 10.8 percent increase versus July, according to the data.

Imports of diluted crude oil (DCO) from the Andean country rose 63 percent to 311,130 bpd, while shipments of other unclassified blends increased 92 percent to 35,130 bpd. Imports of heavy Boscan declined by 4.5 percent to 34,600 bpd.

PDVSA’s unit in the United States, Citgo Petroleum, received 13 crude cargoes for its Corpus Christi and Lake Charles refineries, while U.S. oil firms Valero Energy, Phillips 66, Chevron Corp, and Motiva Enterprises received five to eight cargoes each.

For its part, the Chalmette refinery, sold in June by ExxonMobil and PDVSA to PBF Energy Inc, received four cargoes of Venezuelan crudes in August for an average of 73,500 bpd.

PDVSA has also been storing and blending more crude in the Caribbean in recent months, so a larger number of cargoes of Venezuelan crudes are entering the United States from islands such as Curacao and Bonaire, instead of coming directly from Venezuelan ports.