UPDATE 1-Venezuela buys 2 Russian crude cargoes for Curacao refinery -sources
* Urals crude to replace Venezuelan Mesa 30 at Isla refinery
* State-run PDVSA looks for diluents for its extra heavy oil (Update with falling Venezuelan crude price, details)
By Marianna Parraga
HOUSTON, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA bought two cargoes of Russian Urals light crude from a unit of Petrochina to be delivered starting in early November to the Isla refinery in Curacao, traders told Reuters on Friday.
The 1-million-barrel cargoes will be the second crude import made by the OPEC member since signing a supply contract with Algeria's state-run Sonatrach to buy Saharan blend light crude that will start this month to be used as a diluent for Venezuela's extra heavy crude production.
"The Russian crude will be refined at Isla, mainly to produce lubricants, but there is not a signed supply contract, so PDVSA could buy other grades in the future," one of the sources said.
Amidst declining oil production and exports, PDVSA is running out of light crudes to use as diluents for its extra heavy output from the Orinoco belt, its main producing region.
Urals is a light crude of 31 API degrees of density and up to 1.35 percent sulfur, used as a reference grade for pricing Russian exports.
With the world's largest crude reserves, Venezuelan's imports of oil are highly controversial. PDVSA is trying to cut costs by replacing naphtha purchases made on the open market with light crudes, while formulating better quality blends that could be sold at higher prices. Continuación...