(Adds details about units halted, context)
PARAGUANA/HOUSTON, May 29 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s Paraguana Refining Center (CRP), site of the Amuay and Cardon refineries, reduced operations to 62 percent of capacity from 67 percent in March, after halting some units this month for maintenance, according to a PDVSA document seen by Reuters on Thursday.
The 310,000 barrel per day (bpd) Cardon refinery, which was working at 86 percent capacity two months ago, reduced its operations to 68 percent, processing 210,000 bpd of crude after starting a planned maintenance at one of its crude distillation units.
Other smaller units were also halted as part of the maintenance plan, and PDVSA has not said how long that will last. Two hydrotreaters were out of service or working partially because of failures, according to the document. A total of 14 plants were not working as of May 27.
The 645,000 bpd Amuay refinery, Venezuela’s largest facility, is operating at 59 percent capacity, without significant changes in comparison with March.
One of its alkylation units and the isomerization unit are being prepared for restart in the coming days, but the facility is having water shortage problems that forced state-run PDVSA to halt one of the units that produces oxygenates for finished fuels (TAME) several weeks ago.
In total, Amuay has 16 units out of service compared with five units halted at the end of March. The 16,000 bpd Bajo Grande refinery, connected through pipelines to the CRP, is also out of service. PDVSA has been seeking fuel cargoes to buy on the open market in recent weeks because of its refinery problems, amid growing domestic demand.
Earlier this month, the company halted the fluid catalytic cracker of the 146,000 bpd El Palito refinery for unplanned maintenance that is still under way. (Reporting by Sailu Urribarri in Paraguana and Marianna Parraga in Houston; editing by Terry Wade and Tom Brown)