Venezuela’s state run oil company is clearly on its last legs as the blackouts that have crippled most of the country are crippling their ability to produce oil:
Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA expects its crucial crude upgraders to operate well below capacity this month, according to industry sources and documents seen by Reuters, as U.S. sanctions and energy blackouts hit the OPEC nation’s oil industry.
Venezuela depends on the upgraders, which are mostly operated by joint ventures with foreign companies, to convert the extra-heavy crude oil produced in the Orinoco Belt into exportable grades usable in overseas refineries. Together, they have a capacity of some 700,000 barrels per day.
Prolonged power outages have been adding to problems blending and exporting crude, as PDVSA’s main oil port, Jose, in northeastern Venezuela remained paralyzed.
The Petropiar and Petromonagas upgraders, part-owned by U.S. oil major Chevron and Russian giant Rosneft respectively, have not fully restarted since a March 7 blackout.
Petrocedeno, part-owned by France’s Total and Norway’s Equinor, stopped working after a second blackout on March 25, as did PDVSA’s fully-owned Petrosanfelix.
“The upgraders are still halted,” oil workers’ union leader Jose Bodas said.
According to an internal PDVSA document seen by Reuters this week, Petropiar and Petrocedeno are “in the process of restarting.”