HOUSTON – Venezuela is considering refining foreign crude for the first time to produce fuels, according to internal documents seen by Reuters, the latest sign of the country’s strain to meet its obligations despite having the world’s largest crude reserves.
State-run oil company PDVSA has drawn up a plan to process up to 57,000 barrels per day (bpd) of foreign crude in June at the country’s largest refinery. The fuels produced would fulfill export contracts largely to Russian and Chinese customers and reduce purchases of fuels for domestic use, the documents seen on Wednesday showed.
The oil company has been falling short of fuel exports in recent years due to a lack of lighter crudes to refine, spare parts, poor maintenance and management upheaval at its 1.3 million-barrel-per-day (bpd) domestic refining network. PDVSA also lost access in May to inventories produced in Curacao, where it operates the 335,000-bpd Isla refinery.