According to a Venezuelan state run report, PDVSA is operating all its refining facilities at an average of 74%. PDVSA’s plants usually have a total processing capacity of 1.62 million bpd, but since the start of July, processing capacities have continuously dropped to the low of 1.2 million bpd.
Cause and effect of low refinery utilisation
Due to a number of fires, small explosions and power cuts, processing capacities have been affected. An explosion at the Amuay refinery in 2012, in which 40 people died, was the first event in this chain. Since then, there has been a further fire at the Amuay facility, operational problems at the Cardon refinery, a fire at the Puerto la Cruz plant and also due to operational problems the Bajo Grande refinery was shut down. The company’s rented Isla refinery on the island of Curacao has also been impacted by the unfortunate series of events and is indeed running at a lower than optimum capacity. The Isla plant was subject to several months of problems, which included a total power blackout last month.
PDVSA is now looking to import petroleum products, which is having a large impact on the country’s balance of payments. PDVSA are apparently looking to import several cargoes of diesel and gasoline over the next few weeks to fuel the domestic market.
The utilisation figures were brought to light by Reuters and are a surprise as PDVSA and Venezuela as a whole usually only comment on processing rates in annual reports.
Edited from various sources by Claira Lloyd
Read the article online at: https://www.hydrocarbonengineering.com/gas-processing/02092013/pdvsa_refinery_utilisation_drops/