A new accident is casting serious doubts regarding PDVSA’s true operational capacity. On Friday, there was an explosion at a gas plant located in Punta de Mata, state of Monagas (Venezuela).
Locals reported a fire at the El Carito plant. “Houses shook all over the city,” a neighbor said.
Ahorita gran incertidumbre entre pobladores de Punta de Mata #Monagas por fuertes explosiones en planta de Gas Carito PDVSA, aparentemente colapsaron 2 depuradores, a esta hora no hay control de lo sucedido y los protocolos de rigor que deberían ser automatizados no funcionaron pic.twitter.com/maVi6m0div
— Piero Maroun (@PieroMaroun) March 20, 2020
The explosion destroyed a significant part of the oil and gas infrastructure in the area. The company’s security team investigated the cause of the incident and the subsequent fire.
Complaints from former workers
Former PDVSA workers informed of a powerful explosion at the at the El Carito pump room in Punta de Mata at 01:55 AM on Friday. 40% of the 87,000 barrels produced in the Punta de Mata go through this plant.
The explosion was allegedly caused by the collapse of one of the excess hydrocarbon gas burning systems, which compromised two pipes in the flow station.
La madrugada de este #20Mar fue registrada una explosión en la Estación Carito, de Punta de Mata, de la empresa venezolana Pdvsa en el estado Monagas, ubicado al oriente del país. Las fotos fueron enviadas a Cambio16 por fuentes internas de la petrolera en calidad de anonimato. pic.twitter.com/4OmagBemvE
— Cambio16 (@Cambio16) March 20, 2020
An escalation of incidents
This explosion is added to a series of incidents in the oil industry since the times of Hugo Chavez, which have become the norm during the regime of Nicolas Maduro.
In 2012, an explosion and fire at the Amuay refinery in the State of Falcon caused 42 deaths, hundreds of injured and many material damages. This is, thus far, the biggest accident in the Venezuelan oil industry.
Continúa la destrucción de PDVSA por la plaga corrupta rojita, en Punta de Mata, municipio Zamora, Edo Monagas, fuerte explosión en la Estación Carito, que deja en pánico a la población adyacente. Urge la asistencia internacional hoy más que nunca. .@fraccionAN16J#SoloNoPodemos pic.twitter.com/ZqymMGA8wy
— Juan Pablo García (@JuanPabloGve) March 20, 2020
On March 10, there was a pipe explosion at PetroPiar (a joint venture between PDVSA and Chevron). The incident prompted the suspension of crude upgrading operations and the emergency release of hydrogen sulfide gas. Also, workers were evacuated from the area.
This accident severely harmed the sulphur and hydrogen processing units at the 190,000 bpd heavy crude upgrader.
Company workers and specialists in industrial oil security warned of a lack of maintenance and investment in infrastructure and machinery that has generated an unprecedented crisis and an exponential rise of accidents, with the subsequent drop of crude production.
Production has plummeted due to the lack of investment, terrible decisions, poor management, and rampant corruption. It now stands at 1940’s levels. In 1988, PDVSA was generating more than 90% of the country’s revenue, producing 3.3 million barrels per day. Last month, the company reported a production of 760,000 bpd to the OPEC; down by 2,240,000 barrels from 2013. In just six years, the output decline stands at 74.6%.
In his six years as president, Nicolas Maduro has appointed several boards of directors, incarcerated more than one hundred senior managers and workers, and militarized the company. Now, in the midst of a crisis, he announces a new “intervention.”
For more information, check Energía16