WRAPUP 1-Venezuela oil refineries face operating woes, PDVSA launches tenders
By Mircely Guanipa and Marianna Parraga
PUNTO FIJO, Venezuela/Houston, April 26 (Reuters) - V enezuela's key Paraguana oil refining complex was this week operating around half capacity, prompting state-run oil company PDVSA to launch purchase tenders for products as it tries to offset power outages and equipment failures.
While Amuay's fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) restarted on Monday, the 645,000 barrel-per-day refinery was operating at only around 360,000 bpd as its flexicoker remained down, union boss and fierce government critic Ivan Freites said on Tuesday.
The adjacent 310,000 bpd Cardon facility was processing around 110,000 bpd, added Freites, citing Monday's internal report of Venezuela's top refineries in the wind-swept Paraguana peninsula.
Output has dropped at the crisis-hit OPEC country's refineries in recent months, with critics blaming shortages of spare parts, lack of maintenance, and a shaky electrical grid.
"At the weekend we were producing at around 25 percent, nothing more," lamented a worker at Amuay.
A shipper close to Venezuela's exports said the Paraguana refineries' processing rate was at historical lows in early April.
PDVSA often blames problems on saboteurs seeking to subvert the socialist government. The company did not respond to a request for comment.