PdVSA Reopens Lube Blending Plant


Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. announced yesterday that it has reopened a finished lubricant blending plant at its Vassa Guacara refinery, part of an ongoing effort to rebuild its oil industry from the throes of economic collapse.

In a video posted on Instagram and the refinery’s Facebook page, refinery Director Jose Clevier said the lube plant has resumed production after an extended shutdown and that the national oil company has rebranded products made there.

Clevier indicated that the lube factory is starting back slow. It is currently operating at 56% of its nameplate production capacity of 75,000 metric tons per year.

Venezuela’s lubricant industry, like many others, was bludgeoned by the economic crisis in which the country has been mired for more than a decade, beginning under former President Hugo Chavez and continuing under the administration of Nicolas Maduro. Many economists attributed the crisis to failed government policies, but Maduro blamed economic sanctions led by the United States.

Hyperinflation hit seven digits in 2018 and 2019, the murder rate jumped to one of the highest in the world, and the populace endured shortages of medicine. By some estimates a quarter of the nation’s population left.

Crude oil production and refining slowed to a trickle, despite Venezuela being one of the world’s richest nations in terms of proven oil reserves. Severe motor oil shortages forced consumers to wait for days in long lines and a black market developed.

Venezuela has been working broadly to revive its oil and oil products industries. A few other facilities also resumed operation in the past year, in some cases with assistance from allies such as Iran.

Clevier did not say how long the Guacara blending plant has been shuttered. He did introduce a new branding scheme developed through cooperation between PdVSA and the Guacara refinery. The plant will produce lubes for automobiles, industrial facilities and small watercraft used by the fishing industry.