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Iranian condensate to help PDVSA boost crude output at key projects, official says

Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA will use a cargo of Iranian condensate that arrived in the country last week to boost output at three key extra-heavy crude projects in its largest oil region, a senior company official told Reuters.

The deal between PDVSA and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to swap Venezuelan crude for Iranian condensate, reported exclusively by Reuters, comes as diluent shortages impede PDVSA’s ability to mix the tar-like crudes from the Orinoco oil belt for transportation and export.

Wills Rangel, a PDVSA board member and a union leader, said in a late Wednesday interview that the condensate would help boost crude output at oilfields associated with the Petrocedeno, Petropiar and Petrolera Sinovensa projects, three of the company’s largest.

“There are many inactive wells due to a lack of diluents,” Rangel said in an interview at his office in capital Caracas. “We will reactivate production.”

The diluent shortage is the latest obstacle to beset the OPEC nation’s oil industry, which has seen production collapse due to years of underinvestment. More recently, U.S. sanctions have cut the company off from key trade partners, including former suppliers of diluents.

The Iran-flagged tanker Dino I, which brought 2.1 million-barrel cargo of condensate, began discharging its first parcelthis week for Sinovensa, according to a PDVSA schedule seen by Reuters.

Petropiar and Sinovensa are joint ventures between PDVSA and Chevron Corp CVX.N and China National Petroleum CorpCNPET.UL, respectively. PDVSA is now the sole shareholder of Petrocedeno after its former partners, TotalEnergies SE TTEF.PA and Equinor ASA EQNR.OL, exited the project in July.

Rangel estimated Venezuela’s total crude production at 750,000 barrels per day (bpd), higher than the 641,000 bpd the country told OPEC it averaged in August. Venezuelan officials say they aim to boost output to 1 million bpd by year end.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Deisy Buitrago in Caracas Additional reporting by Marianna Parraga in Houston Writing by Luc Cohen Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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