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Long Lines as Venezuela Left With One Gasoline Refinery

Venezuela has just one gasoline refinery operating as it struggles to repair two key plants, creating a shortage so severe drivers and truckers are queuing up for hours — even days — for fuel.

A gasoline-making unit at the Puerto La Cruz refinery, accounting for just 14 percent of Venezuela’s gas refining capacity, is the only one left functioning in the nation after pump and compressor problems took down the Cardon and Amuay refineries last week, and attempted repairs failed, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named as the information is not public.

Even though it contains the world’s largest oil reserves and one of South America’s biggest refining facilities, Venezuela has been struggling for years to meet domestic demand of 120,000 barrels a day, a situation that worsened with US sanctions. Gasoline shortages are common, with the country routinely experiencing capacity drops. Currently, capacity is down 86 percent.

On Wednesday both affected refineries were processing crude, but were not producing fuel. Gasoline has only been widely available in Caracas, where the government ensures timely supplies out of fear of protests. When the country faced shortages this severe in 2020, it deployed soldiers to protect gasoline stations. 

Representatives of the state-run oil company PDVSA and those of the refineries did not respond to requests for comment. PDVSA aims to start producing gasoline on Thursday, according to one of the persons. 

Since 2020 PDVSA has diverted gasoline from its eastern facility in Puerto La Cruz to other parts of the country even though it is meant to feed local demand. The country’s five refineries’ combined capacity is 1.28 million barrels a day. 

Source : Rigzone