Planned, unplanned maintenance under way at Venezuelan refineries

Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) is conducting both planned and unplanned maintenance work at three of its Venezuelan refineries.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) is conducting both planned and unplanned maintenance work at three of its Venezuelan refineries.

At its 645,000-b/d Amuay refinery, which comprises part of the Paraguana Refining Center (CRP) in northwestern Venezuela’s Falcon state, the company has undertaken a major overhaul of the plant’s flexicoker and a flue stack, PDVSA said.

Work on the two units, both of which are in the process of restarting, is scheduled to be completed by end of first-quarter 2015.

While PDVSA also confirmed Amuay’s Distillation Unit 1 and Hydrogen Reformer 3 are entering final phases of major maintenance, the company did not disclose a firm timeline for start-up of those units.

At the nearby 310,000-b/d Cardon refinery, which makes up the other half of CRP, PDVSA said minor maintenance and partial repairs remain ongoing at the plant’s naphtha reformer and Distillation Unit 4.

The company, however, did not specify a timeframe for the completion of maintenance work at Cardon.

As of Feb. 26, crude oil throughputs at CRP averaged 613,800 b/d, or roughly 64%, of the complex’s combined nominal capacity of 955,000 b/d, according to PDVSA.

The company also is in the process of restarting the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit at its 146,000-b/d El Palito refinery near Pto. Cabello, Carabobo state.

The FCC, which underwent a precautionary shutdown earlier in the week following a disturbance in the compressed air system, was due to return to normal operations sometime on Feb. 26, according to PDVSA.

The emergency shutdown resulted in reduced crude oil throughputs at the refinery, which was operating with an average crude processing capacity of 121,000 b/d as of Feb. 26.

Despite local media reports that the refineries have more extensive issues that soon will lead to fuel shortages in Venezuela, PDVSA reiterated dispatch operations as well as fuel inventories at the CRP and El Palito production sites remain stable and within normal, planned levels.

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