UPDATE 1-Venezuela Petropiar oil upgrader to shut for expansion
CARACAS, July 3 - Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA said on Tuesday it plans to shut the Petropiar heavy crude upgrader for 46 days to expand capacity to 210,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 180,000 bpd and to carry out planned maintenance.
Petropiar is a joint venture between state oil company PDVSA and U.S. oil company Chevron. Venezuela's four upgraders convert tar-like crude from the OPEC nation's Orinoco belt into lighter, more valuable oil.
PDVSA said the shutdown, which is to last from July 8 to August 23, will not affect crude output. The effort will also include maintenance on a number of plants including crude, coking, sulfur any hydro-processing units.
The OPEC member country's upgraders and network of refineries have been plagued by operational problems and accidents since 2009, leading to a fall in export volumes.
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