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Venezuela Looks To Ease Gasoline Shortage By Restarting Production Units

Venezuela’s state-owned oil firm PDVSA looks to restart another gasoline-producing unit soon, hoping to ease the gasoline shortages in the country that sits atop the world’s largest crude oil reserves.

PDVSA aims to restart the gasoline-producing unit at its CRP refining complex within two weeks, following the restart of two crude distillation facilities earlier this week, Argus reported on Thursday, citing company officials and internal documents it has seen.

Venezuela is currently producing gasoline from one unit at the Amuay refinery and another unit at the Cardon refinery. Amuay and Cardon are currently processing up to 135,000 barrels per day, “but that level of production has to be sustained and other units needed for gasoline production, including the fluid catalytic cracker, must be restarted,” a manager at PDVSA told Argus.

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In the middle of July, PDVSA resumed gasoline production at Cardon, which was at the time the only operating refinery in the country that is experiencing severe gasoline shortages.

Venezuela’s 1.3-million-bpd refining capacity is mostly offline, due to the cash crunch at PDVSA and Venezuela, the crumbling industry, and years of lack of investment in maintenance and repairs.

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The lockdown to curb the coronavirus pandemic in the country already in a severe economic collapse has reduced the demand for gasoline, but shortages persist.

Venezuela has seen some reprieve recently in its fuel shortage problem after Iranian tankers shipped gasoline and refining components to the Latin American country in open defiance of U.S. sanctions.

Nicolas Maduro’s regime tried to alleviate the fuel shortage in the country, but a new scheme of subsidized gasoline failed to put an end to the long lines in which Venezuelans queued to fill their cars with fuel.

Despite the shipments from Iran, Venezuelans continued to queue for gasoline. Meanwhile, the United States is looking for ways to cut off Iranian gasoline deliveries to Venezuela.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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