Electrical fault briefly halts Venezuelan refinery

CARACAS Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:29pm EST

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CARACAS Feb 16 (Reuters) - An electrical fault briefly halted operations at Venezuela's 146,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) El Palito refinery in the latest mishap at the South American OPEC member's oil installations, state-owned company PDVSA said.

Twitter users posted photos of smoke rising from El Palito, at Puerto Cabello on Venezuela's north coast, in the afternoon.

"There was a problem in the electrical system of El Palito refinery, causing the temporary suspension in operations," PDVSA said in a statement. "Re-establishment of industrial services and pre-starting of process units was begun later," it added.

Venezuela's accident-prone refineries hit the headlines last year with a gas leak at the Amuay facility that killed 42 people, the nation's worst-ever oil industry accident. (Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Todd Eastham)

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