CIENFUEGOS, Cuba, Oct. 30 (Xinhua)-- Cuba's joint oil refinery with Venezuela will close out the year with a sharp drop in production due to the economic crisis in the South American nation. It is set to only meet 53 percent of its planned output, local authority said on Sunday.
In statements to foreign media which toured the central province of Cienfuegos, Lidia Esther Brunet, a top Communist Party official in the region, said a "contraction" in oil supply from Venezuela has limited the plant's refinement capacity.
"The Camilo Cienfuegos oil refinery won't comply with the production plan set at the beginning of this year as it has done since its reactivation in 2007 due to the situation in Venezuela and other issues. It will close out the year complying with 53 percent of its production plan," she said.
Venezuela's state oil company, PDVSA along with Cuba's CUPET, operate a refinery in the central city of Cienfuegos, around 250 kilometers southeast of Havana, which was built in the 1980s and reactivated in 2007.
In 2015, the plant refined 17.8 million barrels of oil and a similar figure was expected this year. However, with the contraction in supply, it will only process around 9.4 million barrels of oil.
Similarly, Brunet said the expansion of the plant to process up to 150,000 oil barrels per day and the construction of a petrochemical complex are "paralyzed" due to the current complex situation in Venezuela.
"The investments for the expansion of the plant and petrochemical industry complex have been stopped. Perhaps, in the near future, they could be reactivated," she added.
Venezuela's tough economic crisis has severely impacted the island which used to receive up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day from Caracas. That amount has decreased substantially and has led Havana to take energy-saving austerity measures in the past months.
In July this year, Cuban president Raul Castro said part of the island's economic troubles in the first half of 2016 were due to a "contraction in fuel supplies agreed with Venezuela."
Among the energy-saving measures were a decrease in public bus services, cutbacks on air-conditioning at public offices, reduced work days at some state offices and slashing fuel allotments for government vehicles by half.