Venezuelan oil ports struggle to handle tanker arrivals

jueves 13 de noviembre de 2014 13:30 GYT

By Marianna Parraga

HOUSTON Nov 13 (Reuters) - Venezuelan oil ports are struggling to load and unload cargoes on time amid an increase in fuel imports prompted by trouble at PDVSA's 1.3 million-barrel-per-day domestic refining network, shippers told Reuters on Thursday.

PDVSA is offering to buy up to 2.4 million barrels of gasoline and ultra low-sulfur diesel to be received as of November 17, its biggest fuel purchase since an explosion in 2012 affected its main refinery. Firms such as BP, Noble Group and Vitol are lining up to sell the cargoes.

Cargoes from up to ten oil and fuel orders the firm made in October are also causing traffic. Some of those include crude being imported from Algeria after a supply contract was recently signed with state-run Sonatrach to use Saharan Blend light crude as a diluent for Venezuela's growing extra heavy oil output.

"There are at least 20 oil tankers around Pozuelos Bay (at Venezuela's Eastern coast) waiting to load and unload at Jose terminal, compared to a normal figure of 10-15 tankers," a shipper close to PDVSA's purchases said.

Venezuela's has a vast oil infrastructure that also includes several terminals in the Caribbean, but its capacity to receive and handle oil imports is limited.

"PDVSA is rushing to solve logistical problems and be able to receive all imports at its terminals in the coming days, avoiding extra freights and waiting costs," the source added.

PDVSA expects its main complex, the Paraguana Refining Center (CRP), will restart its main units on Thursday, after power outages last week halted Amuay and Cardon refineries.

The Caribbean area has been increasing fuel imports in recent weeks amidst a growing demand from companies such as Venezuela's PDVSA, Dominican Republic's Refidomsa, Jamaica's Petrojam and Colombia's Ecopetrol.   Continuación...