Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA restarted a key unit in fuel production over the weekend, potentially easing gasoline shortages in the country’s western region, five sources close to the operations said.
The Amuay refinery, with a capacity to process 645,000 barrels per day (bpd), had its fluidized catalytic cracking (FCC) unit out of service since March while undergoing repairs.
“Amuay’s catalytic is now running, processing about 70,000 bpd,” one of the sources said. The FCC has a processing capacity of 108,000 bpd.
However, the Cardón refinery, neighboring Amuay, with a capacity of 310,000 bpd, has not been able to restart its FCC, which has been out of service since early June due to equipment failures.
Workers are now trying to get a naphtha reformer back into service in the next few days at Cardón to increase fuel production engine, the sources said.
Failures and unplanned maintenance often disrupt operations at PDVSA’s aging 1.3 million bpd refining network, leading to fuel shortages, especially gasoline and diesel.
PDVSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Amuay and Cardón are part of PDVSA’s largest refining complex, the Paraguaná Center, with a capacity of 955,000 bpd.
The refining complex was processing 237,000 bpd on Monday, a quarter of its installed capacity, the sources said.