PDVSA moves to minimize effects of faulty catalytic cracker

State oil corporation Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) has moved "to minimize the possible effects" the shutdown of a catalytic cracker unit at its Cardon refinery may have on gasoline supplies to the US, the company said Friday. The 77,000 b/d unit was shut down on Thursday for the second time in a week.

May 4th, 2001


By an OGJ Online Correspondent

CARACAS, May 4 -- State oil corporation Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) has moved "to minimize the possible effects" the shutdown of a catalytic cracker unit at its Cardon refinery may have on gasoline supplies to the US, the company said on Friday.

The 77,000-b/d unit was shut down on Thursday for the second time in a week.

The Cardon refinery, which has a processing capacity of 300,000 b/d, forms part of the Paraguana Refining Center in northwestern Venezuela. Gasoline output at the faulty catalytic cracker is shipped mainly to the US market.

Operations at the unit were first interrupted Sunday due to an electric failure. Some 36 hr later, PDVSA attempted to restart the unit, but was forced to shut down operations again on Thursday.

"The unit was taken out of service after several attempts to stabilize operations without satisfactory results," said PDVSA, noting that the decision was made at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

PDVSA said it estimated the unit would be out of service for about a week.

"At this moment, the possible impact of the shutdown could have on deliveries to clients is being evaluated, and PDVSA is trying to minimize as much as possible the effects it may have on our contractual commitments," said PDVSA.

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