The catalytic cracker at Venezuela’s Cardon refinery, key to gasoline production, was halted on Friday due to equipment failure, according to Reuters.
This closure is unwelcome news for the OPEC producing nation as U.S. sanctions on state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) have exacerbated problems caused by years of underinvestment and lack of maintenance at its refineries.
The country, now without gasoline production after a fire at El Palito refinery on 9 October, is experiencing days-long queues outside PDVSA gas stations.
Repairs are expected to take about three weeks. A member of the PDVSA, Eudis Girot, added that there were problems with the wet gas compressor, cooling fans, and light unit.
Cardon’s fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit in the western state of Falcon was producing around 25,000 barrels of oil per day (bbl/d). Cardon has a total capacity of 310,000 (bbl/d), and together with neighboring Amuay refinery, forms the Paraguana Refining Center (CRP), the country’s largest refining complex.