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Venezuela PDVSA refinery fire under control; no injuries

ICIS News : 31-Jul-13 00:19

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--A fire that broke out on Tuesday morning at Venezuela’s 600,000 bbl/day Jose Antonio Anzoategui refinery complex is “under control”, state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) said in a statement.

According to the company, the fire began in a crude distillation unit operated by PDVSA Petrocedeno, a joint venture between PDVSA, Total and Statoil.

There were no reports of fatalities or injuries, PDVSA said, although it wasn’t immediately clear if the fire had been completely extinguished.

According to a statement by the Venezuelan Federation of Petroleum Workers (FUTEV), the fire began at 09:20 hours local time (14:50 hours GMT), and caused significant alarm among residents living close to the refinery.

The fire caused 50-metre high flames, but was controlled after 20 minutes by emergency fire-fighting units, FUTEV said.

An investigation has begun to determine the cause of the incident, PDVSA said.

Normal operations have not been effected, the company said.

Venezuela’s state-run facilities have suffered a number of fires and accidents in recent years, most notably a gas-leak explosion and fire at the country’s Amuay refinery last August that killed 42 people and injured 150.

Detractors of PDVSA point to alleged mismanagement, a lack of transparency and under-investment that undermine the safety of the company’s facilities and workers.

By Simon West

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