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Explosion at PDVSA refinery on Curacao injures two

07 November 2014

An explosion at a gas plant of Curacao's 335,000 barrel per day (bpd) Isla refinery on November 5 injured two people, according to workers at the facility quoted by Reuters. The Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, which operates the refinery on the former Dutch Caribbean island, would not comment on the issue.

It remained unclear what impact the apparent explosion had on operations. Workers took pictures that appeared to show firemen on site and flames being doused.

The Isla refinery mainly supplies the US, Central American and Caribbean markets, but has been working well below its capacity in recent years because of a lack of power and other services.

The accident comes a day after a blackout closed PDVSA’s 645,000 bpd Amuay refinery in Falcon state on the Venezuelan mainland.

There were reports that smoke emissions could be observed from unidentified areas of the refinery, but the company said that preliminary inspections showed the incident did not result in any fires, explosions, or injuries at the plant.

The 310,000-b/d Cardon refinery, which comprises the other half of the Paraguana complex, remains fully operational, PDVSA said.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro often blames saboteurs out to harm his socialist administration for blackouts or refinery accidents. Critics say refinery incidents are due to negligence and lack of investment.

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