CARACAS, April 24 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA on Wednesday said it had activated a power generator that would allow for an increase in crude oil output, after a string of nationwide blackouts disrupted operations in the country’s heavy-crude oil Orinoco belt.
The company said in a statement the generator would add 10 megawatts of power to the electrical system in the Morichal district of the belt, allowing for an increase in output of Merey crude, Venezuela’s most common export grade.
PDVSA said the additional capacity would benefit the Petroindependencia joint venture, which is 34 percent owned by Chevron and allow for the reactivation of a pumping station for diluents, which are oil products that PDVSA needs to convert its extra-heavy oil into exportable grades.
The OPEC member nation’s output fell to under 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in March, a drop of almost 500,000 bpd from the prior month due to the blackouts and the impact of U.S. sanctions. (Reporting by Luc Cohen, editing by G Crosse)