UPDATE 2-Storm stops Venezuela oil upgrader again

* Petroanzoategui halted soon after restart

* Facility had been offline since late September

* Separate stoppage begins at Shell joint venture
(Updates with stoppage at Petroregional project)

By Marianna Parraga

CARACAS, Nov 3 (BestGrowthStock) – Venezuela’s troubled 130,000
barrels-per-day (bpd) Petroanzoategui heavy crude upgrader has
stopped again after a storm caused a fault in its compressor
unit, a source at state oil company PDVSA said on Wednesday.

The large facility had been out of action since late
September due to boiler problems, but this week PDVSA said it
had been restarted and was operating normally. [ID:N02243300]

“The compressor failed yesterday due to the storm and we
had to shut it down safely to evaluate the damage … This will
not affect production,” the PDVSA source told Reuters, adding
that they would use lighter oil to blend with the heavy crude.

Venezuela’s four upgraders convert tar-like crude from
fields to the north of the Orinoco River into more valuable
exportable oil. Petroanzoategui is the only one of the Orinoco
upgraders that is 100 percent owned and operated by PDVSA.

Six workers were injured by a chemical leak last month when
they tried to restart Petroanzoategui, a union leader said.

The South American OPEC member had to stop three of the
four Orinoco upgraders last year after apparently minor faults
threatened production in the multibillion dollar projects,
which were nationalized in 2007.

PDVSA said separately on Wednesday a planned stoppage had
come into effect at Petroregional del Lago, a joint venture it
runs in the west of the country with Shell (RDSa.L: ).

It said the stoppage at the Urdaneta West field was the
result of a technical evaluation carried out a year ago, but
gave few other details. A source at the joint venture said the
stoppage began on Monday and was expected to last 45 days.

PDVSA said the operation had been producing 30,000 bpd.
Shell owns 40 percent of the project, which was formed after
Venezuela forced Shell to migrate an oil field operating
contract awarded in the 1990s to a joint venture structure.

“The fact we have nationalized core operations does not
mean we cannot incorporate services provided by private
companies,” PDVSA quoted its vice-president of exploration and
production, Eulogio Del Pino, as saying on a tour of the site.

“We want to achieve sovereignty and technological
independence without putting the operations at risk,” he said.
(Additional reporting and writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by
Marguerita Choy)

UPDATE 2-Storm stops Venezuela oil upgrader again