CARACAS – An Iranian tanker identified as “Honey” docked in Port of Jose, a terminal located in Venezuela’s northeastern Anzóategui state, to discharge some 2 million barrels of a condensate known as South Pars in clear violation of the sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration, Bloomberg News reported on Sunday. The “Honey” turned off its GPS to prevent it from being tracked down.
This condensate may be used by state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) to ramp up production at the country’s Orinoco Belt, despite the fact of this having vast heavy oil deposits of about 1.2 billion barrels, after blending it with tar-like crude for the production of PDVSA’s patented mix Merey 16, which has been acknowledged as the country’s top blend for export.
These Imports are “used to offset Venezuela’s declining production of light oil for making Merey, or to act as a diluent and blend with viscous types of crude to make them more marketable,” Bloomberg said.
This would mark the first time since Venezuela has imported crude from Iran and also the country’s first oil import since April 2019, when it got a cargo from Nigeria to mix with its heavy oil and Merey.
Separately, some 60,000 barrels of gasoline and 100,000 barrels of diesel produced at El Palito refinery in Carabobo state were offloaded in Carenero Port, a terminal located near Caracas, to supply the capital with the much-needed fuel in a bid to alleviate the severe shortage going on for a few months, said Eudis Girot, executive director of the Unitary Federation of Oil Workers (FUTP), via his Twitter account late on Saturday.
Girot pointed out that the gasoline being distributed (91 octanes) is “contaminated with blood of the workers who die due to the lack of medical attention. 53 dead in 60 days have been reported so far.”
The 146,000 bpd El Palito had resumed operations on Friday after a malfunction in the refinery’s fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCC) brought gasoline output to a halt late in August.
However, supply problems may be far from over. Cardón, part of the Paraguaná Refinery Complex in Falcón state and Venezuela’s biggest refinery, would not be producing gasoline for at least 45 days due to repairs in the plant’s R302 reactor, Girot wrote on Twitter.
“The 27,000 bpd that account for 810,000 barrels per month are not being produced anymore. Now we have to wait 45 days to start producing again,” he said.