Venezuela reiterates offer of heating oil help

Venezuela will do everything possible to maximize its production of heating oil for the US market to help avoid shortages in the Northeast this winter, said state oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA). The US said it had adequate product storage facilities, said PDVSA, so it will not take advantage of the Venezuelan company's recent offer of the use of a terminal in the Bahamas for heating oil storage.


Venezuela will do everything possible to maximize its production of heating oil for the US market to help avoid shortages in the Northeast this winter, said state oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA). The US said it had adequate product storage facilities, said PDVSA, so it will not take advantage of the Venezuelan company's recent offer of the use of a terminal in the Bahamas for heating oil storage (OGJ Online, Sept. 19, 2000).

"Our efforts in this regard are simply a continuation of the valued longstanding relationship between Venezuela, which prides itself for its consistency and reliability of supply, and the United States, our most important customer, as it tries to handle a difficult market situation," said Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuelan vice-minister of energy.

Venezuela noted that crude oil production increases, such as recently promised by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, would not be of help to the US in a heating oil shortage situation. "In the United States, high refinery utilization, deep conversion units operating at full capacity, routine refinery maintenance shutdowns�which have already been delayed and will be required in the near future�and lack of investment to upgrade refinery facilities are all factors that preclude any effective use of additional crude oil to increase significantly low heating oil inventories," said a statement.

There is even less US crude refining capability for Venezuela's heavy, sour crude, PDVSA pointed out. "Venezuela, however, has made, and is currently making, substantial investments to upgrade its refinery system to satisfy future heating oil demand," said the statement.

PDVSA officials also met with members of Congress from the northeast US to discuss alternative solutions that could help the region's fragile heating oil situation. One idea discussed is a possible meeting of US federal and local government officials and consumers with Venezuelan government officials and PDVSA representatives to explore solutions.

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