(Updates with details of arrival, context)
Oct 26 (Reuters) - Oil tanker Carabobo, bringing Venezuela’s first import of crude oil, arrived late on Saturday at the Jose port, where it is scheduled to unload up to 2 million barrels of Algerian Saharan Blend to be used as a diluent for Venezuela’s extra heavy crude, according to Reuters tanker tracking data.
Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA has ordered four deliveries of foreign light crudes in recent weeks, including Algerian Saharan Blend and Russia’s Urals, to replace purchases of the costly heavy naphtha it had been using as diluent.
After signing a supply contract with Algeria’s state-run Sonatrach, Saharan Blend supplies will arrive at Venezuelan ports while Russian shipments are scheduled to arrive during November to Isla refinery, operated by PDVSA in the Caribbean island of Curacao.
The very large crude carrier (VLCC) Carabobo has not started the unloading process, according to the data.
A portion of the Algerian crude purchases will be mixed with Orinoco belt’s extra heavy oil while a 270,000 barrel per day (bpd) crude upgrader plant operated by PDVSA, Norway’s Statoil and France’s Total is halted for maintenance starting in early November, the state-run oil company said. (Reporting by Marianna Parraga in Houston; Editing by Greg Mahlich)