(Argus, 26.Jun.2018) – Venezuelan state-owned PdV is restarting its 210,000 b/d PetroPiar upgrader this week after completing month-long repairs, PdV and energy ministry officials said.
Chevron, which has a 30pc stake in Petropiar, is “working closely” with PdV to restart the facility, the PdV executive said.
Chevron regularly declines to comment on its minority-held operations in Venezuela.
PetroPiar is one of four PdV-run upgraders at the Jose industrial complex in Anzoátegui state.
Following the restart of PetroPiar, PdV is also expected to resume operations at its 160,000 b/d Petro San Felix upgrader, the two officials said. But several Petro San Felix processing units are still undergoing repairs, making a full restart unlikely until the second half of July, they added.
Petro San Felix, formerly called PetroAnzoátegui, is 100pc owned and operated by PdV.
PdV’s 200,000 b/d PetroCedeño upgrader remains shut down for major works that likely will not be completed until August, the PdV and ministry officials said. France´s Total and Norway’s Equinor hold a combined 40pc stake in PetroCedeño.
PdV’s 150,000 b/d PetroMonagas upgrader is currently operating at roughly 50pc of nameplate capacity and is scheduled for maintenance starting in July, the officials added. Russian state-controlled Rosneft owns 40pc of PetroMonagas.
The four upgraders, which have a combined synthetic crude production capacity of more than 600,000 b/d, have been mostly off line for repairs since May, when exports started backing up.
The backlog of close to 30mn bl of mostly heavy Merey crude and diluted crude oil (DCO) began after US independent ConocoPhillips imposed debt-related liens on PdV´s Dutch Caribbean assets, prompting the Venezuelan company to pull its tankers into Venezuelan waters and shift exports to an fob basis, a strategy that has so far failed to restore exports to their former rhythm. Among the operational challenges is transshipment, which PdV traditionally carried out in the islands.
ConocoPhillips is seeking to collect $2bn from PdV that it was awarded by an international arbitration tribunal in April for the 2007 expropriation of the US firm´s stakes in two of the upgraders.
The liens on PdV´s assets were partially lifted last month to allow PdV to supply fuel to the islands and start paying the debt through escrow accounts.