Venezuela's PDVSA to install generators for Chevron oilfields after blackouts

FILE PHOTO: The corporate logo of the state oil company PDVSA is seen at a gas station in Caracas, Venezuela, January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA said on Friday it would install 20 generators to make a crude project partly owned by Chevron “independent” of the national grid, after a wave of blackouts crippled crude production in the OPEC nation.

In a statement, the company said the generators had a total capacity of 50 megawatts and would “increase the stability of (electricity) service for the extraction of daily barrels” at fields operated by Petroboscan, a joint venture between PDVSA and Chevron, which owns a 39 percent stake, in western Venezuela.

PDVSA said it expected the generators at the Zulia 9 substation would be installed by the end of May.

The South American country’s oil output fell to under 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in March, a drop of almost 500,000 bpd from the prior month due to the blackouts and the impact of U.S. sanctions. Most of PDVSA’s operations depend on electricity supply from the national grid.

Last week, PDVSA said it had activated a generator that would allow for an increase in crude output at the Petroindependencia project in the heavy crude Orinoco belt, another PDVSA-Chevron joint venture.

On Friday, PDVSA added that it would install a 32-megawatt turbine at the Punta Gorda electric plant in Cabimas, which it said would stabilize electricity supply to oil production in Maracaibo Lake and along the eastern coast of the lack.

Reporting by Luc Cohen and Deisy Buitrago; Editing by Sandra Maler