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Refinery woes spur PdV product shopping spree

21 Jun 2017 21:11 (+01:00 GMT)
Refinery woes spur PdV product shopping spree

Caracas, 21 June (Argus) — Deteriorating refinery operations for Venezuelan state-owned PdV are leading the company to seek up to 13mn bl of refined products, or roughly 71,000 b/d, for delivery between July and December 2017.

The company's 940,000 b/d CRP refining complex currently is operating at about 33pc of its combined nameplate capacity, according to union officials. This includes the impact of the 18 June shut down of a catalytic cracking unit at the 305,000 b/d Cardon refinery because of late payments for imported crude, according to union officials.

This has lead PdV to write a lengthy refined products shopping list for the second-half of 2017, including 600,000 bl of 95 and 91 octane gasoline, 900,000 bl of diesel, 1.44mn bl of MTBE, 600,000 bl of catalytic naphtha and 3.5mn bl of vacuum gas oil.

PdV also plans to import 6mn bl of heavy naphtha from July to December for use as diluent with Orinoco extra-heavy crude (8.5 API). This is necessary to yield transportable diluted crude oil (DCO) moved in pipelines to naphtha stripping and crude blending facilities at PdV's Jose upgrader complex in Anzoategui.

The planned 13mn bl in imports are needed to guarantee local gasoline and diesel supplies and for state-owned power company Corpoelec, a PdV marketing and supply division executive said. But the planned imports still cover "only part" of PdV's total estimated import needs for the rest of this year.

PdV began processing imported crude at the CRP refining complex on the Paraguana peninsula in Falcon state over the past year to offset falling domestic output, a senior Futpv union official at the complex tells Argus.PdV's crude output declined by more than 465,000 b/d, or 17pc, in the past 18 months, from 2.654mn b/d in December 2015 to 2.189mn b/d in May 2017, according to production figures provided to Opec by Venezuela's energy ministry. Argus estimates PdV's actual crude output at 1.9mn b/d.

PdV said that all refineries are operating normally, but the company did not provide any details. Senior oil union official Ivan Freites said PdV's refineries currently are processing a combined 385,035 b/d, or 30pc of their combined 1.3mn b/d nameplate capacity. That's the lowest volume reported since a two-month oil industry strike in 2002-2003 practically shuttered downstream operations.

Cardon refinery is processing about 50,000 b/d or 16pc of its 305,000 b/d nameplate capacity, according to union officials. Amuay refinery is processing about 260,035 b/d or 41pc of its nameplate.

The 140,000 b/d El Palito refinery in Carabobo state currently is processing about 50,000 b/d or 36pc of nameplate, and the 190,000 b/d Puerto La Cruz refinery is running about 25,000 b/d of crude or 13pc of nameplate, oil union officials at both refineries said.

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