Power blackout hits Venezuela’s Paraguana refining center, sources say

By Thomson Reuters Mar 14, 2024 | 12:11 PM

PUNTO FIJO, Venezuela (Reuters) – A power blackout forced Venezuela’s largest refining complex, the 955,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Paraguana Refining Center, to shut down on Thursday, five sources close to its operations said.

Power outages frequently hit Venezuela’s aging refineries and oil terminals, suspending the OPEC country’s crude processing and exports and causing domestic fuel scarcity.

“There was an electrical problem, which even left the city without power,” one of the sources said.

Technicians from state company PDVSA, which operates the complex, were called to a meeting to coordinate action, another source said.

Crude processing from four distillation units at Paraguana, located on the country’s west coast and essential for domestic fuel supply, was at about 200,000 bpd before the blackout, according to another source.

A smaller refinery, the 187,000-bpd Puerto la Cruz, remained in service on Thursday, while most plants at the 146,000-bpd El Palito are halted due to planned maintenance.

(Reporting by Mircely Guanipa and Deisy Buitrago, Editing by Marianna Parraga and Nia Williams)