By KEJAL VYAS
CARACAS -- Venezuela's 300,000-bpd Cardon oil refinery was hit by a fire Tuesday,
forcing a halt in operations at the facility's naphtha reformer
unit, a local union leader said.
Workers at the site shut down the unit shortly after a small
explosion caused a fire at the plant, Ivan Freites, secretary
general of the oil workers union, said.
He added that some workers were being evacuated as a
precautionary measure but did not offer more details.
Cardon and the adjacent Amuay refinery make up the country's
Paraguana Refining Complex, which has capacity
to process just under 1 million bpd of crude.
However, frequent accidents and other mishaps at facilities operated by state oil
monopoly Petroleos de Venezuela, or PdVSA, have sharply reduced
output in recent years.
Most recently, an Aug. 25 gas-leak explosion at Amuay killed
more than 40 people and raised questions about PdVSA's maintenance efforts at its
refineries. Amuay has so far only regained about half of its
total capacity since the deadly blast.
Dow Jones Newswires