MOSCOW (MRC) -- Production at Venezuela's largest refinery, which can process about 645,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), was halted late on Saturday by an electrical fault that caused a blackout, according to five people familiar with the matter, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.
Amuay is the only refinery producing gasoline at the Paraguana Refinery Center (CRP) following a halt in some operations at the neighboring Cardon refinery while a reformer fault is fixed.
"Blackout in the Amuay refinery. An electrical problem. Total blackout. In Amuay, the distilling and catalytic plants might be affected, which is currently producing about 80% of the country's gasoline," one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
State-owned oil company PDVSA did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The issues arose from a failure in the power plant that supplies power to both refineries but affects Amuay the most, one of the sources said. While electricity had been restored the halt in processing has not been fixed, the source added.
PDVSA will work to restore electricity to Amuay on Sunday, two of the sources added. The CRP is located on Venezuela's northwest coast and is operating far below its capacity of processing 955,000 bpd. Venezuela's network of refineries has a production capacity of 1.3 MMbpd.
People from nearby communities that depend on electricity generated by the CRP took to social media to report power cuts. Venezuela faces intermittent gasoline shortages following years of disinvestment and poor maintenance across the state refining network, as well as electrical failures and limits on fuel imports due to U.S. sanctions seeking to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to leave office.
As per MRC, Iran and Venezuela, oil producers grappling with crippling U.S. sanctions, signed a 20-year cooperation plan in Tehran, with the Islamic Republic's supreme leader saying the allies would continue to resist pressure from Washington. The signing ceremony, carried by Iranian state TV, was overseen by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro and took place at the Saadabad Palace in north Tehran. The plan includes cooperation in the fields of oil, petrochemicals, defence, agriculture, tourism, and culture. It also includes repair of Venezuelan refineries and the export of technical and engineering services.