PDVSA Said Seeking Sweet Oil From North Sea, Africa for Blending

Petroleos de Venezuela SA is looking to import sweet crude from as far away as West Africa or the North Sea to mix with its heavy oil and produce refined oil products, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

A delegation from PDVSA, as the state producer is known, traveled to Houston late April to seek long-term structured supply deals for 40 to 42 degree API oil from West Africa or the North Sea rather than grades from the U.S., the people said, asking not to be identified because talks are private.

PDVSA is not interested in condensates from the U.S. since it doesn’t believe they yield good gasoline, the people said.

Caracas-based PDVSA plans capital investments of $277.9 billion during 2015 and 2019 to increase production to 6 million barrels a day from 2.79 million in 2014.

The company, which also has long-term plans to build six upgraders to process heavy oil from the Orinoco belt, for now is focusing on a strategy of mixing imported light oils with its domestically produced crudes to create an export blend as a pullback in oil prices restricts its ability to fund the multi-billion-dollar upgrader investments.

The company considers Saharan Blend as too expensive with value not reflected in the final PDVSA blends, the people said.

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