Explosion at major Venezuela refinery injures two: sources

PUNTO FIJO, Venezuela (Reuters) - A furnace exploded during a unit restart at Venezuela’s largest refining complex, injuring two workers, a union leader and a family member of one of the victims said on Wednesday.

The explosion occurred on Tuesday night at the naphtha reformer of the Cardon refinery on the Paraguana peninsula, the sources said, adding the two victims received medical treatment.

“They were trying to pull out the naphtha reformer and one of the furnaces exploded,” said union leader Ivan Freites.

State-run Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) did not immediately respond to a request for information.

The father of one of the injured workers said his son was recovering after burns on his body.

“They told me at 8 p.m. that my son and another colleague had this accident, but that they were fine,” said the father, Pablo Cespedes.

The complex is the largest refining center in the country and one of the largest in the world with a capacity of 955,000 barrels per day (bpd). However, operations have been negatively impacted by constant failures and a lack of crude to process.

Reporting by Mircely Guanipa; Writing by Corina Pons and Girish Gupta; Editing by Sandra Maler