HOUSTON, April 15 (Reuters) - The 150,000 barrel per day (bpd) Petromonagas extraheavy crude upgrader, operated by Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA and Russian oil company Rosneft, will undergo a three-week maintenance in June, a source close to the work told Reuters.
Four upgraders with some 650,000 bpd of joint capacity operate in the Orinoco belt, the major reservoir of Venezuelan oil, to convert the extraheavy crudes into exportable products that can be processed by refineries.
When PDVSA and private partners need to halt any upgrader for maintenance, the OPEC member country normally imports heavy naphtha to mix with the Orinoco belt’s extraheavy crudes and produce exportable blends.
“The call for contractors for the Petromonagas’ maintenance stoppage was already done by PDVSA. It is expected to start in early June and it will last for some three weeks,” the source said.
He added that other two upgraders, Petropiar and Petrocedeno, are also supposed to receive maintenance this year, according to PDVSA’s schedule, but contractors have not been called yet and there are not specific dates for that work.
PDVSA declined to comment.
The 180,000 bpd Petropiar project is operated by PDVSA and U.S. oil firm Chevron and 190,000 bpd Petrocedeno is operated by PDVSA, France’s Total and Norway’s Statoil .
Petromonagas, whose minority stake was bought by Rosneft from TNK-BP in 2013, underwent a small modernization plan last year to replace equipment at the upgrader’s delayed coker unit, which reduced its exposure to security risks.
Its last major maintenance was in 2012 and it plans to undergo a big expansion in the coming years to reach 250,000 bpd capacity. Last year the project produced some 166,000 bpd of extraheavy crude, according to Rosneft’s figures. (Reporting by Marianna Parraga; Editing by James Dalgleish)