Venezuelans have been forming long lines to buy gasoline in a major provincial city after outages at a nearby refinery prompted rare worries of supply shortages in one of the world’s largest oil exporters. Since late Tuesday, drivers in the central city of Barquisimeto and towns around it have spent about 30 minutes lining up to fill their tanks, residents said. Gasoline supplies are a sensitive political issue in Venezuela, where bottled water costs more than fuel. The last major supply interruption came in 2003 during an oil strike aimed at toppling leftist President Hugo Chavez.
Last week, state oil company PDVSA said it took key units at the El Palito refinery off line due to a power outage. The company has still not restarted the units, according to a union official with knowledge of the operations,