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Venezuela investigation reveals sabotage behind fatal Amuay refinery blast

08.26.2013  | 

Maduro said an investigation found the incident was the product of "sabotage by desperate actors who believed that a refinery fire would help them win the elections against late president Hugo Chavez."

Keywords:

CARACAS -- A 2012 explosion that killed 42 people at an oil refinery in Venezuela was "sabotage," President Nicolas Maduro said, accusing opponents of being responsible.

Maduro cited an international investigation as finding that the incident was the product of "sabotage by desperate actors who believed that a refinery fire would help them win the elections against late president Hugo Chavez."

Venezuela is South America's biggest oil producer and firefighters struggled for days to put out the blaze triggered on August 25, 2012 at the Amuay refinery, which produces 645,000 bpd at normal capacity. Dozens were also injured in the blast.

The incident was initially blamed on a gas leak said to have caused the fire and explosion of nine fuel tanks. The blast tore through homes, businesses and part of the refinery.

Maduro claims the opposition used the incident to try to chip away at Chavez's popularity. But the late president won the October 2012 elections before dying of cancer on March 5.

In June, Maduro had accused the opposition of being behind the blast on the basis of the attorney general's probe, but this was the first time he cited an international investigation. The president did not indicate who conducted the latest probe.

There have been similar incidents at refineries in oil rich Venezuela in recent months, some of which have also been blamed on sabotage.

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, with the government estimating that at 297.57 Bbbl its reserves surpass those of Saudi Arabia, which has the world's biggest refining capacity.

Venezuela is also the fifth largest exporter of oil.

Dow Jones Newswires



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JOSE LOPEZ
09.02.2013

That is not sabotage! Mayor maintenance has been seen to be suffering from delays of two o three years, and routine maintenance suffered a significant low. This efect are also evident in the aintenance backlog for pumps and motors.

V K Kapoor
08.28.2013

oil refineries are very vulnerable to sabotage. It is great good task to prevent such bad incidence

Jorge Hau
08.27.2013

Yes, food shortage, current 29% inflation, increased crimes, kidnapping, everything else that go wrong is the making of the opposition. They control everything, judicial, the state oil company, the army, have nationalized a large number of businesses in the area of agriculture, industrial, services of all kind, power supply but if there is shortage of electricity is also the making of the opposition. They make their army and militia, the judges and police force believe this is a fact: the opposition is worse than the devil itselt. The opposition is so evil that are capable of carrying out such an atrocity as this they claimed in Amuay. They believe it; when the opposition protests, national guards, police, militia, and sympathizers, all are willing to shoot to kill and they do it all the time; they have done it. The opposition is the demon that deserves to be shot. If then the media publicize the deads, it is the opposition to blame and even say that the shooters were from the opposition shooting its own people just to blame the government. This is how they have justified many killings. If the media show a video demonstrating who the real killers were, the government would say it was made holiwood style, special effects to make them look bad. Any similarities with dictatorship elsewhere is pure and only a coincidence.

Brad ONeal
08.27.2013

What rubbish! There was video last year after the explosion that said there was a LPG pump seal that was blowing out for days prior to the explosion. A pump in LPG service was blowing out! For days! That is not sabotage. That is incompetence due to putting your cronies in charge and completely neglecting any kind of maintenance.

In Venzuela - meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Paul Tudor
08.27.2013

Regarding this issue the claim of the Venezuelan President and the PDVSA CEO are a bunch of lies, since 2002 the oil production declined by 1MM barrels per day, that means there has not been any exploration budget.
Now regarding the oil installation maintenance the situation is the same, for 2 days there was a heavy gas odor in the area, and there is a picture taken in the evening where we can see the gas cloud just minutes before the explosion, as having experience in refineries and petrochemical installation I ask just one questions, why the gas detectors did not work??? sending the alarm to the operations room???
In consequence all this government history is pure fiction.
Thanks

Manuel Suarez
08.27.2013

The "latest probe", which blames the country's political opposition to Maduro's administration, is believed by many to be just one more government maneuver to squelch opponents. Some facts to support this notion:

1) Refinery workers have indicated that many safety systems were either inoperative or non-existent altogether (e.g. gas detection and alarm systems) largely pointing to incompetence and/or negligence as the main causes of the explosion.

2) The Maduro administration has refused to make public the countries, companies and experts that produced the alleged “latest investigation”

2) PDVSA failed to report the claim to the insurance company providing coverage for Amuay’s facilities. The reason is believed to be PDVSA’s fear of an insurance audit and investigation into the operating and maintenance practices at the refinery.
PDVSA is also not renewing its current insurance and is very rapidly changing insurance brokers from the current one, with many years of experience, to a little known Russian outfit.

Luis Fernandez Fernandez
08.27.2013

No report, no probes, no investigation comittee but here the conclusion: Sabotage.

Jose
08.27.2013

Just plain communist lies!!

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