Cerro Negro Back in Production After Maintenance

Venezuela's Cerro Negro extra-heavy crude upgrading joint venture announced on Friday it has completed planned maintenance work at its production and upgrading facilities.

"In both the field and upgrading unit, production resumed on April 1," an official with Cerro Negro, one of four projects that produce synthetic crude from Orinoco oil belt extra-heavy crude, told BNamericas.

The maintenance work took about three weeks. According to state oil firm PDVSA, the other three extra-heavy crude upgrading projects - Ameriven, Sincor and Petrozuata - were producing about 480,000 barrels a day (b/d) of syncrude.

On Monday, PDVSA subsidiary CVP president Eulogio Del Pin said Cerro Negro would have production of 120,000b/d of syncrude after the completion of maintenance work, an estimate the company official couldn't confirm.

Currently Cerro Negro produces extra-heavy crude and pipes it to the upgrading unit at the Jose petrochemicals and refinery complex in AnzoateguĂ­ state, where it produces some 108,000b/d of syncrude, which is then shipped to Chalmette, the Louisiana-based built-to-spec refinery where it is processed.

Chalmette is owned by 50:50 by Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA and US oil major ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM).

Cerro Negro is a JV between ExxonMobil and PDVSA, each with a 41.67% stake, and the UK's BP (NYSE: BP) with the rest.

Visit BNamericas to access our real-time news reports, 7-year archive, Fact File company database, and latest research reports. Click here for a Free two week trial to our Latin America Oil & Gas information service.