UPDATE 1-Blackout halts Isla oil refinery in Curacao - workers

Sun Jul 7, 2013 2:09pm EDT

By Umpi Welvaart

WILLEMSTAD, July 7 (Reuters) - A blackout on the Caribbean island of Curacao temporarily halted operations at its 335,000 barrel per day (bpd) Isla oil refinery, workers at the facility said on Sunday.

The refinery, which is crucial to the Dutch island nation's economy, is run by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA. The power cut hit the whole of Curacao, the workers said, including the plant that provides Isla with electricity, water and steam.

That plant is operated by the Curacao government. Workers at Isla said power began to return across the island within minutes of the blackout.

PDVSA officials were not immediately available to comment on the stoppage.

The refinery is a major asset for the company. Isla makes up more than 10 percent of its global refining capacity, while a neighboring tank depot can hold up to 16 million barrels of crude - a key staging point for PDVSA's oil shipments to China.

Unlike most coastal facilities in OPEC nation Venezuela, the terminal and the nearby island of Bullenbaai can receive large tankers, including VLCCs (very large crude carriers). Curacao lies about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Venezuela.

Last week, PDVSA said a small explosion and fire hit the flexicoker unit of its biggest refinery, the 645,000 bpd Amuay facility. No one was hurt in the accident.

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Comments (1)
SeasideD wrote:
What’s crucial to this island economy is education. Education about the refinery is an important part of that. It is an antiquated, heavy polluter that is used by Venezuela without fair compensation to the island government. Of course, the folks in power want to keep it but they base their arguments on self-serving half truths. There are much better options. There is a movement on the island called GreenTown that has a sustainable plan that benefits the whole island with a green future and green jobs. Perhaps you can follow through with an article on that movement?

Jul 08, 2013 11:59am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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