Archive for April 27th, 2003

Part of Paraguana refinery shut down

April 27, 2003

Curious how there is absolutely nothing about last night’s fire, which shut down the country’s biggest refinery, in the Venezuelan media and I have to read the Wall Street Journal to learn about it (from Dow Jones):


CARACAS — A fire has shut down one of the four hydrodesulphurization units at Venezuela’s giant 940,000 barrel-a-day Paraguana refinery complex, a refinery spokesman said Sunday.

The 84,000 b/d unit is expected to be back online within three weeks, the spokesman added. “Some repairs are needed, but the loss in output is easily offset by three other hydrodesulphurization units at the complex,” the spokesman said.

The fire broke out at midnight Saturday in the Amuay refinery, which is linked with the Cardon refinery. The two refineries make up the Paraguana complex.

No injuries were reported. “The fire remained limited to one unit, other areas have not been affected,” plant manager Ivan Hernandez was quoted as saying on PdVSA’s Web site Sunday. Hernandez couldn’t be reached for additional comment.

Separately, the refinery spokesman said the 60,000 b/d flexicoker unit was restarted last Friday. The flexicoker was the last unit out of order after a two-month opposition strike against President Hugo Chavez crippled company operations in December and January.

State oil firm PDVSA declared force majeure on exports of crude and gasoline shortly after the strike began Dec. 2 as thousands of employees stayed away from their jobs. The stoppage fizzled out in early February and Venezuela’s oil production has been restored to prestrike levels of around 3.2 million b/d.

Also, three refinery workers at a unit of the petrochemical complex of Jose in western Venezuela were seriously injured after an explosion Saturday, local media reported Sunday. No details were available.

PdVSA has been struggling to get its 1.3 million b/d refinery system back online. PdVSA lifted the final force majeure for exports of gasoline last week.

Cuban Ambassador repeatedly in the news

April 27, 2003

The Cuban Ambassador to Venezuela has been in the news quite a bit in the last few days. First he gave an interview in local paper El Nacional yesterday in which he accused the US Ambassador of intromission in Venezuelan affairs with his repeated statements. The US Embassy replied immediately by saying that the Ambassador’s statements were “boring and laughable”and that the US had a policy towards Venezuela and was part of the group of friends. (which Cuba is not). He further accused the Cuban Government of trying to distract attention from the human right violations taking place in Cuba.

 Additionally, there was a demonstration yesterday in front of Cuba’s Embassy to protest the shooting of the three people that hijacked the ferry as well as the numerous detentions and sentencing of opposition figures. Pro-Chavez groups part of the Bolivarian Circles showed up and there was stone throwing and aggressions between the two groups. The group protesting had a permit, while the pro-Chavez group did not. The Mayor of then district where the Embassy is accused the Cuban Ambassador of being responsible for the incidents saying that he called the Bolivarian Circles to come to the Embassy and defend it. Meanwhile, the Cuban Ambassador blamed the Mayor for allowing these demosntrations to take place and saying he had intelligence that the Embassy was going to be attacked. One opposition demonstrator was injured.