State firms from Iran and Venezuela will start in the coming weeks a 100-day revamp of the South American nation’s largest refining complex to restore its crude distillation capacity, four sources close to the plan said.
The effort by state oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and the state-owned National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) to boost fuel output at the Paraguana Refining Center marks a step toward ending Venezuela’s reliance on U.S. refinery technology, the sources said.
Venezuela, which has the world’s largest crude reserves, has struggled in recent years to produce enough gasoline and diesel due to refinery outages, a lack of investment and U.S. sanctions that create obstacles for imports. Long lines at gasoline stations have been common since 2020.
Tehran has strengthened ties with Caracas in recent years, providing crude and condensate as well as parts and feedstock for Venezuela’s aging 1.3 million barrel per day oil (bpd) refining network.
A unit of NIORDC signed a 110-million-euro contract with PDVSA in May to repair Venezuela’s smallest refinery, the 146,000-bpd El Palito in the center of the country, a project that is currently underway.
The companies are now expected to sign in the coming weeks a 460-million-euro contract to revamp the 955,000-bpd Paraguana refinery complex on the coast of western Venezuela, according to the sources.