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Venezuela’s Paraguana refinery complex is soon to begin a 100-day overhaul to reclaim its crude distillation capacity, anonymous Reuters sources suggested on Friday, with work set to be completed as a joint effort by Venezuela’s PDVSA and National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC).
Iran’s assistance with Venezuela’s Paraguana Refining Center—the nation’s largest—looks to ease Venezuela’s reliance on U.S. refinery technology.
Over the past decade, Venezuela’s oil industry has crumbled due to mismanagement, corruption, and a lack of investment in maintenance, and U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry and exports, enacted by former President Donald Trump, helped to cripple the industry and discouraged foreign operators from working in the country.
In October last year, the Amuay refining unit at the 950,000 bpd Paraguana refinery complex stopped operations after a blackout and fire at the complex—and that isn’t the first time in recent history. In December, it went down again.
A few short weeks later, Venezuela’s Cardon refinery—also part of the Paraguana refinery complex with a capacity of 310,000 bpd, went offline. The facility, responsible for producing gasoline, would be offline for 25 days, facility workers said last week.
Venezuela’s refining woes have led to shortages in gasoline supplies in the country, triggering hours-long waits on the retail side.
Venezuela sits atop the largest crude oil reserves in the world but has for years been unable to keep its crude oil and refining sectors operating normally.
Last year, the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company said it would help PDVSA get another refinery, the El Palito refinery, back up and running after being down since the end of 2021, also agreeing to expand the refinery. In October, Iran said it had started crude oil refining at what it called the first refinery that Iran had built overseas.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.