Caracas, Venezuela — PDVSA has shut down its last two operating refineries in Venezuela, closing its Amuay and Cardon facilities at the Paraguana Refining Center (CRP), the largest refining complex in the country, according to a technical report seen Monday by S&P Global Platts.
Due to multiple failures and a lack of crude to process, the 645,000 b/d Amuay refinery was completely shut down Monday, with its five distillers out of service, and the 310,000 b/d Cardon refinery was shut Saturday for maintenance work on the Number 1 distiller, which had been operating at 50,000 b/d.
A refinery operator at Amuay, who spoke to Platts on condition of anonymity, said it will take “maybe two or three more days” to restart Amuay and “a few weeks” for Cardon to be up and running because of the distiller repairs.
Amuay’s 108,000 b/d catalytic cracking unit has been shut since December, the plant’s 72,000 b/d flexicoker has been shut since March 2016, and the 34,000 b/d delayed coking unit remains shut for repairs.
Amuay has not run at maximum capacity since August 2012, when an explosion killed 42 people and injured 80.
The 16,000 b/d Bajo Grande asphalt plant, also part of the CRP, was already shut.
PDVSA operates two other refineries, the 187,000 b/d Puerto La Cruz and the 140,000 b/d El Palito, which were already shut down due to deterioration of units, lack of light crude to process and failures in the supply of electricity.
January 28 marks the one-year anniversary of sanctions imposed by the US Department of Treasury on Venezuela’s state-run oil producer, PDVSA, which has been translated as a de facto ban on Venezuelan crude exports to the US market.
Since then, PDVSA has seen a deterioration of its oil industry and has struggled to sell its crude barrels in international markets. In contrast, other Latin American crudes competing for business in the US Gulf Coast not only have been favored with increasing demand in that region, but also in Asia.
Francisco Monaldi, fellow in Latin American energy policy at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, and Maria Eugenia Garcia, Latin American crude senior editor with S&P Global Platts Platts, discuss the impact of the sanctions on the international crude market.
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