Iran to try and overhaul Venezuela’s near-defunct refineries

The Paraguana refining complex (PDVSA)
Iran’s national oil refining company has won a €110m contract to fix a Venezuelan oil refinery, and expects to sign a second deal worth €460m in the coming weeks, Reuters reports.

The first deal involves the 955,000 barrel per day (bpd) Paraguana refinery complex on Venezuela’s Pacific coast for Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

It is currently operating at 25% of capacity.

The National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) hopes to increase this by repairing five of its nine distillation units.

The second deal will do the same at the 146,000-bpd El Palito plant in the centre of the country.

The work on Paraguana is expected to take 100 days. Reuters said the goal is to reduce Venezuela’s reliance on US refinery technology.

NIORDC will try to combine Chinese and Iranian parts with the existing US equipment. If the revamp succeeds, bigger overhauls could follow in 2024 and 2025.

Venezuela has the world’s largest crude reserves but has failed to meet its petrol and diesel needs owing to refinery outages, a lack of investment, and US sanctions that have cut off the access to spare parts.

Iran will be in charge of parts procurement, installation, and inspection before handling the refinery’s operations back to PDVSA, sources familiar with the deal told Reuters.

At least 400 Iranian workers are expected to do the work alongside around 1,200 local staff.

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