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Venezuela's Orinoco belt output 200,000 bpd as no storage capacity available


Venezuela Cuts Output From Biggest Oil Region as Tanks Fill and no Tankers to Sail

- Chevron, CNPC blending facilities at Jose complex are halted
- Cap on production in effect until vessel arrives at oil port

By Fabiola Zerpa / Bloomberg

Petroleumworld 10 07 2019

Venezuela's state oil company has briefly cut output in the Orinoco Belt -- which accounts for about half of the nation's total production -- to a maximum of 200,000 barrels a day (bpd) after swelling inventories forced blending plants to shut.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA set a production limit at the extra-heavy crude area of the Orinoco, the country's main producing region, including at partnerships with Chevron Corp. , Rosneft Oil Co PJSC and China National Petroleum Corp., according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Operations at all the joint-venture upgraders and the Sinovensa blending facility have been halted for as much as a week, people said.

The Orinoco Belt holds the core of Venezuela's oil reserves and is where the majority of international joint ventures are based. Output from the region, which is currently less than a quarter of the February level, is expected to ramp back up next week after a vessel arrives to load oil, one person said.

Crippled by U.S. sanctions that have limited its buyers and curtailed its access to oil tankers, the South American nation saw crude loadings slump to 70-year low of 495,000 barrels a day in September, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

Overall, the country's production sank this week to 510,000 barrels a day, with the Orinoco Belt at around 180,000 barrels, an internal PDVSA report showed. The other two main areas, Zulia and Monagas, were pumping 177,000 barrels and 145,000 barrels a day, respectively.

The Greek-flagged tanker Maran Triton, which can hold about 1 million barrels of oil, is due to arrive at the Jose port this weekend, according to a shipping report seen by Bloomberg.

PDVSA has been limiting production at Chevron's Petropiar joint venture to a quota that varies daily from as little as 10,000 barrels to more than 100,000, one person said.

Chevron didn't have an immediate comment. PDVSA and Rosneft didn't immediately respond to emails seeking comment outside of normal business hours. Calls to CNPC's office in Beijing weren't answered Friday, which is a holiday in China, and an outside spokesperson didn't immediately respond to an email.

With assistance by Lucia Kassai, and Alfred Cang

Story by Fabiola Zerpa from Bloomberg. / 10 04 2019


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