April 16, 2006 at 10:30 pm #4217
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) Friday April 14, 2006– Operations at Venezuela’s Cardon oil refinery have been disrupted by an electrical fault, the state oil company said Friday.
“A fault in the electrical system prompted the paralyzation of operations in the Cardon refinery,” early Friday morning, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, said in a statement.
PDVSA said oil shipments will not be affected because there are enough inventories to guarantee supplies.
A flaw in a substation caused the electrical fault, which affected the refinery’s vapor, air and power services, forcing the shutdown, the statement said.
It said workers were trying to restore normal operations.
Refinery officials did not answer phone calls seeking comment on Friday during the Holy Week holidays.
The Cardon refinery produces about 305,000 barrels a day. It is part of the Paraguana refining complex in eastern Venezuela that produces 940,000 barrels a day and is Venezuela’s main source of gasoline exports.
Venezuela is the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter and a top supplier to the U.S. market
April 16, 2006 at 10:32 pm #7608
PDVSA has had series refinery disruptions at the Paraguana refining complex – especially in the Cardon refinery, although this recent electrical fault is not as bad as those last year.
The Venezuelan Refineries are not getting the kind of government scrutiny for its accidents that U.S. refiners typically get after a mishap, but alarms have been going off due to the continued number of fires/breakdowns/explosions. Petroleos de Venezuela still hasn’t released reports on any of the accident investigations or announced any changes in procedure or equipment aimed at making the plants safer. Six workers have died in fires & accidents, four in the Cardon fire/explosion Nov. 7, 2005. And the Venezuelan refineries have over 50 down days in 2005 at the 4 domestic Venezuelan refineries – which would ony increase the risk since startup & shutdowns are the 2 most dangerous situations in any refinery operations. US experts cite more than 5 days downtime for anything outside routine maintenance, as key indication of safety issues.
Prior to Chavez firing of strike supporters, PDVSA used to be characterized for it’s lack of accidents. Many blame the loss of over 20,000 experienced workers (who had an average of 20 years experience) and diversion of maintenance funds for government programs as key concerns.
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