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Venezuela obliged to import gasoline

Oil traders consider that the state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) will buy abroad more than six shipments of gasoline

Venezuela's state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) will import at least six shipments of fuel to meet the domestic demand after the simultaneous interruption of gasoline generating units in three of its refineries, sources told Reuters.

Between 2008 and 2009, the local refining system has stopped frequently due to scheduled halts and incidents, which have reduced crude oil processing and have impacted exports of byproducts to the United States.

"I estimate that these halts will lead to the importation of some six shipments of gasoline, components, alkylate, and (the additive to improve combustion)," said one trader to the news agency.

The catalytic cracker unit (FCC) of the Amuay refinery has halted intermittently this month, traders and sources of the plant said. However, Pdvsa sources did not confirm the report. Meanwhile, the neighboring refinery of Cardón has undergone maintenance turnaround which was scheduled in 2008. Pdvsa declined to comment on the date when the plant will resume operations.

The FCC of El Palito is still halted, since maintenance works have also been delayed, according to union leaders.

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