Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA is preparing to restart crude output at the offshore Corocoro field as soon as next week, oil union representative Marcos Padovani and two other people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
Petroleos de Venezuela SA, as PDVSA is formally known, plans to use the medium Corocoro-grade crude to feed its domestic refineries, said the people. PDVSA is facing a shortage of medium and light crudes, which it also needs to dilute its extra-heavy crude.
The company is currently transporting an electric generator to the field to start output, the people said.
The field, part of the Petrosucre joint venture 74% owned by PDVSA and 26% owned by Italy’s Eni SpA had been idle since 2019, when U.S. sanctions aimed at ousting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro cut off the venture’s access to U.S. customers.
It produced 23,900 barrels per day (bpd) in 2017, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The company is aiming to produce 2,000 bpd initially before ramping up output to 7,000 bpd in one month and 11,000 bpd by October, said Padovani, a representative of the FUTPV union and member of a workers’ council at PDVSA.
Neither PDVSA nor Eni immediately responded to requests for comment.
The additional feedstock for refineries could help ease debilitating fuel shortages that have plagued the crisis-stricken OPEC nation for more than a year.
The crude would be stored on the Nabarima floating storage and offshore (FSO) facility, which experienced mechanical issues last year causing it to tilt, prompting concerns that the crude stored aboard could spill. After correcting the problem, PDVSA completed offloading the crude in April.
Venezuela’s crude output fell to 614,000 bpd in July, down from 633,000 bpd in June, according to figures the country provided to OPEC.