PDVSA workers have made every effort to raise to a minimum of 280 thousand barrels per day, MBD, the production of light and medium crude from Lake Maracaibo and the East of the country, present in wells that pump little or are paralyzed by mechanical problems, subsoil and surface installations.
In the immediate term, they are focused on diagnoses and plans throughout the hydrocarbon extraction, refining and distribution system, focusing their efforts on the types of oil required by refineries to produce gasoline and diesel, as well as the necessary to dilute and transport by pipelines the heavy and extra-heavy crude oil produced in the Orinoco Oil Belt.
Refineries are industrial plants designed to transform certain types of oil classified by its acidity, sulfur content, water, API degrees (American Petroleum Institute), an acronym that indicates the density and specific gravity of crude oil with respect to water. If it is less than 10 it is extra heavy, between 10 and 22 heavy, from 22 to 32 medium, from 32 onwards light.
The API grades are used to catalog and establish the price of crude oil considering factors that determine its ease of extraction, transportation and refining. The higher the viscosity of the crude, it has lower API gravity and it is more difficult to extract, transport and refine to obtain its derivatives.
“It is for this reason that according to the type of oil they transform, in the jargon of oil tankers it is said that refineries are“ tailor-made suits ”to produce hydrocarbons with the highest added value that guarantee the country's energy security. ”Says Víctor Rodríguez, PDVSA's refinery operations supervisor.
The Paraguaná Refining Center, CRP, in Falcón, requires a diet of oils located between 22 and 30 degrees API to produce gasoline and diesel. From Lake Maracaibo, the workers have set themselves the task of raising the production of oil type 26 to 30 degrees API to satisfy the CRP, which is also supplied, via ships, from light-medium oil extracted in the East of the country.
The East is producing 190.000 barrels per day of light-medium oil, which must be distributed between its use to be mixed with the heavy-extra-heavy oil of the 10 API degree Belt, and bring it to the Merey 16 degree API type, which is exported for the purpose to bring foreign currency to the country.
The other destination for light-medium crude from the East is the CRP, Puerto la Cruz and El Palito refineries, where gasoline, diesel and other derivatives are produced. El Palito is also fed a diet of light crude oils from Apure Barinas, where production is low.
Gasoline is a combination of about seven components, each of which is produced by its respective plant: Butane, Naphtha, MTBE, Alkylate, Light Naphtha, Reformed. The 4 million estimated vehicles that currently make up the Venezuelan automotive fleet consume an average of 80 thousand barrels per day, MBD, while the demand for diesel is 60 MBD, according to the average supplied between October 2020 and June 2021 by the Service Stations from the country.
“PDVSA workers today put their best efforts * to organize themselves in each refinery, each well, each flow station through Self-Training, Collective, integral, continuous and permanent, to continue carrying out diagnoses and production plans, and defense integral part of said sustained and reliable production of fuels and lubricants, in addition to organizing all the logistics associated with land, sea and river transportation, ”says Víctor Rodríguez, PDVSA's refinery operations supervisor.
The current shortage has as an immediate precedent that since 2008 the PDVSA industrial plant has been affected by the divestment required to make repairs, renew equipment and apply preventive and corrective maintenance. In wells, refineries and surface transport logistics, ships and oil pipelines, the divestment was the prelude that created favorable conditions for the illegal sanctions imposed by the US to severely reduce oil production, refineries and plants producing components for produce gasoline, diesel, lubricants.
By blocking PDVSA's oil exportation, the tanks were filled with crude inventories, they overflowed; Oil pumping had to be reduced and production stopped, affecting the mechanics of extraction and the geology of the subsoil of the wells. Oil pumping to refineries had to be reduced and even paralyzed.
This is how the paralysis of the wells led to a deferred production of 1.377.000 barrels per day. That is, oil that is there, in wells, possible to extract if mechanical problems are solved, from the subsoil of surface facilities.
To reverse this reality, in addition to the productive initiatives of the workers, the PDVSA 2020 Commissioner Report highlights the restructuring and reorganization process of PDVSA, which proposes adopting a new business model that allows licenses to be granted to private or public companies with access both capital funds, as well as technologies, according to the License for refining activities. (Article 12 of the Organic Hydrocarbons Law).
The process indicates that hydrocarbon refining activities can be carried out by the State and private entities, jointly or separately. Private entities that wish to carry out hydrocarbon refining activities must obtain a license from the Ministry of People's Power of Petroleum.
"The Organic Law of Hydrocarbons does not expressly regulate the leasing of these licenses," he points out. "The term of a license is up to 25 years, and may be subject to a maximum extension of 15 years, provided the project requirements have been met."
The arduous tasks undertaken by the workers are already beginning to bear fruit. El Palito is about to finish its Major Maintenance. CRP is increasing its production of gasoline, diesel. There will be fewer queues at the Service Stations. "We continue to advance and open discussions in order to build the productive system that the country needs," says Ricardo León, external director and spokesperson for the workers before the Board of Directors of PDVSA.