By Umpi Welvaart
WILLEMSTAD, July 7 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 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.