CARACAS, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA confirmed late on Sunday reports that it is importing light crude to blend with extra-heavy oil from the Orinoco belt.
PDVSA said the "occasional acquisition" of such crudes would be less expensive that continuing to purchase naphtha, which it has been using as a diluent.
The company said the upcoming maintenance at heavy crude upgrader Petrocedeno, which turns the tar-like oil from the Orinoco into lighter crude, also contributed to the need for imports.
"Given the biased information against (Venezuela's) oil industry by self-proclaimed oil experts ... PDVSA informs the country that the purchase of light crude from abroad is due to the need for diluents," the company said.
Reuters reported last week that an Algerian tanker would reach a Venezuelan port at the end of October carrying the first oil imports in the country's history.
Days later, Reuters reported that PDVSA had purchased two cargoes of light crude from a unit of Petrochina that would be shipped at the start of November. (Reporting by Diego Ore, writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Peter Galloway)