(Photo credit: pdvsa.com)
Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji revealed on 16 October that Venezuela’s El Palito oil refinery has started processing some 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude sent by Tehran.
“This was a long-standing and 43-year-old dream that was realized through the efforts of my colleagues at the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC),” Owji said on Sunday.
The official went on to hail the work of Iranian technical teams in repairing the El Palito refinery, which is now tasked with processing Iran’s crude oil.
Earlier this year, Iran’s Naftiran Intertrade Co (NICO) signed a 110 million euro contract with state-owned oil company PDVSA to modernize Venezuela’s largest oil refinery, the Paraguaná Refining Center (CRP).
The Islamic Republic also recently delivered a third supertanker to Venezuela, as part of a long-term contract signed in 2006 for four vessels.
Since signing several bilateral agreements between May and June, Venezuela has received several million barrels of Iranian heavy crude. The most recent delivery came in late September, when Caracas received 1.22 million barrels of oil along with 2 million barrels of condensate.
The additional volumes of oil are meant to help Venezuela boost the output of its flagship export grade, Merey, preferred by Asian refiners. Iran has also helped Venezuela boost its oil exports by supplying it with gasoline and condensates to blend into the heavy crude, as well as equipment and assistance.
Thanks to Iran’s assistance, last month Venezuela reported oil exports of over 700,000 bpd. China remains the biggest buyer of Venezuelan and Iranian fuel, just as it remains the biggest buyer of Russian oil.
As a result of the hybrid war waged on the country by the US and its allies, Venezuela’s oil output dropped from two million bpd in 2012 to just a few hundred thousand at the start of 2021.
Oil industry analysts revealed in January that Venezuela doubled its oil production between 2021 and 2022, also thanks to Iran’s help.
As part of their cooperation to overcome unilateral western sanctions, Venezuela has also provided Iran with at least one million hectares of agricultural land, allowing the water-starved Islamic Republic to provide food security for its population.