CARACAS, Tuesday February 26, 2013 | Update

Venezuela's Amuay refinery operates at 52% of installed capacity

Based on the operational report, around 340,000 barrels of products are processed on a daily basis, which amounts to some 52% of the installed capacity

According to oil workers, repairs are lagging behind (Photo: E. Olivares)
Tuesday February 26, 2013  11:02 AM
Amuay, the largest refinery in Venezuela, has turned 180 days operating at virtually half its capacity, after a blast in August that killed 40 people and caused hundreds of injured in the surroundings.

Despite the time that has elapsed after the catastrophic event -the way it was described by President of state-run oil holding Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) and Minister of Petroleum and Mining Rafael Ramírez- authorities have failed to publish a conclusive report on the technical causes of the tragedy, the extent of material losses, and recommendations to prevent future events similar to the accident occurred at daybreak of Saturday, August 25, 2012.

To date, Amuay refinery -the largest in Venezuela, which, together with Cardón and Bajo Grande refineries, comprises the Paraguaná Refining Center- has not resumed operations at full throttle, in the aftermath of the blast of the olefin gas cloud that accumulated over block 23 in the tank yard.

Amuay's daily operational report states that the refinery is processing around 340,000 barrels per day (bpd) of products; this stands for approximately 52% of the installed capacity of 640,000 bpd.

In addition to the operational needs to produce specific, more or less refined, products, Amuay turned six months with the atmospheric distillation unit number 5 -which processes about 180,000 bpd of oil- out of service, as the damages caused by the blast of August have not been repaired.

Iván Freites, the executive secretary of the United Federation of Oil-Sector Workers (Futpv) stated,  "Repair works are lagging behind, particularly due to materials in short supply," but also because "there is no weekend duty because of the cost of labor" to make the repairs.

Translated by Conchita Delgado

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At first she agreed that I use her real name, that she had no problems with that at all. After all, living with HIV had driven her to help others – as a workshop facilitator giving talks and conducting seminars, or as a volunteer for local AIDS Service Organizations like Acción Solidaria (Solidary Action) and Mujeres Unidas por la Salud (Women United for Health, or Musa), a support group network for HIV-positive women. But when we were well into the interview, the realization that she might lose her private health insurance coverage made her change her mind.

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