Venezuela, BP Restart Crude Output in Orinoco

Tuesday, 16 Mar 2010 12:17 PM

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CARACAS -- Venezuela state oil company PDVSA and BP Plc have restarted production at the 113,000 barrel per day Petromonagas project in the Orinoco heavy crude region, after suspending output in January to meet OPEC cuts, a PDVSA official said Monday.

Petromonagas was restarted last week, PDVSA Vice President Eulogio Del Pino told Reuters. The suspension of production at the project had affected supplies to the Chalmette refinery in the United States.

Petromonagas usually exports 90,000 bpd to the Chalmette refinery in Louisiana, which is jointly owned by PDVSA and Exxon Mobil.

Venezuela says it has reduced output by 189,000 bpd to meet OPEC cuts this year, with 121,000 bpd taken from the Orinoco belt. In recent weeks production bounced back in the region.

The Chinese-Venezuelan Sinovensa project used Petromonagas' upgrader to process oil while the BP-PDVSA project was not producing. Now Sinovensa has returned to mixing its heavy crude with light crude to produce Merey 16.

"We are producing 80,000 bpd at Sinovensa," Del Pino said, adding that Venezuela had sufficient stocks of the light Mesa 30 and Santa Barbara crude to keep exporting mixes at "full capacity."

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