First Cerro Negro shipment leaves port

The first shipment of upgraded crude oil from the $790 million Cerro Negro upgrader complex in eastern Venezuela left port for the 182,500 b/d Chalmette refinery in Louisiana this month, said project partner ExxonMobil Corp. The Venezuelan complex started up in July.

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Aug. 23 -- The first shipment of upgraded crude oil from the $790 million Cerro Negro upgrader complex in eastern Venezuela left port for the 182,500 b/d Chalmette refinery in Louisiana this month, said project partner ExxonMobil Corp.

The Venezuelan complex started up in July.

The 8.5°-gravity extra-heavy crude oil produced at the Cerro Negro field the eastern end of the Orinoco oil belt is diluted with naphtha and transported by pipeline 190 miles to the port of Jose, where the upgrader complex converts the mixture into a 16°-gravity crude oil (OGJ, Jan. 22, 2001, p. 37).

The upgrader's installed processing capacity is 120,000 b/d of heavy crude, which it converts to 108,000 b/d of upgraded crude and byproducts like sulfur and coke.

Cerro Negro is a strategic association formed by Petroleos de Venezuela SA (42%), ExxonMobil, 42%; and Veba Oel of Germany, 16%.

Operadora Cerro Negro SA, an ExxonMobil-led joint venture, operates the project on behalf of the partners.

Production from the field started in October 1999 at an initial rate of 50,000 b/d of undiluted crude from 35 horizontal development wells.

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