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Oil report

Venezuela announces distribution plan amid acute gasoline shortage

CARACAS, Sept 11 (Reuters) - The Venezuelan government will start a fuel distribution initiative and is planning new refining projects amid acute gasoline shortages, a restructuring commission for state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) said on Friday.

After years of underinvestment, President Nicolas Maduro’s government is trying to reactivate production in its failed refineries, with a capacity of about 1.3 million barrels per day, while waiting for three shipments of Iranian fuel that will ease demand for a few weeks.

In the interim, service stations continue to have hours- or even days-long waits for fuel while small protests over the limited supply continue to erupt around the country.

“We report the implementation, temporarily, of a special contingency plan to supply fuel, which will aim to normalize and regularize this new distribution scheme in the short and medium term,” the commission said in a statement released by PDVSA on its website.

The presidential commission, chaired by Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami, did not give details about the plan or elaborate on the current situation of the refineries.

PDVSA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

PDVSA is trying to reactivate gasoline production at its fluidized catalytic cracking unit, with a capacity of 60,000 barrels per day, at the El Palito refinery but still without success.

The reformer at the Cardon refinery, crucial for the country’s gasoline supply, has been stopped, reportedly due to a lack of nitrogen and system failure since the end of August. (Reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Writing by Sarah Kinosian; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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