A very bad maintenance week for PDVSA and a tragic week for the southern Caribbean.
Curaçao: two oil tanks separately catch on fire after being struck by lightning. Fires put out.
Bonaire: Two 200,000-barrel oil tanks burn after being struck by lightning. One is extinguished quickly while other is allowed to burn through all the fuel. The island runs out of firefighting supplies.
Lake Maracaibo: 20-inch oil pipeline on lakebed bent 15 or 20 degrees, causing a leak that prompts the deployment of oil boom and cleanup vessels. PDVSA blames sabotage. (By the way: the lake has been under lockdown since the 2002 oil strike, and it would be very difficult for anyone to get out there with a big enough boat to do something like this without being detected by PDVSA’s widely feared security division, Loss Control and Prevention, or PCP. This is most likely to do with the company’s loss of skilled labor when it nationalized the Maracaibo maritime industry last year.)
Cardon refinery: Oil pier burns while tanker Sonia is being loaded, temporarily halting shipping. The cause is under investigation.
Pemex Cadereyta refinery: Explosion kills 1.
Straits of Magellan: An oil production platform belonging to Enap, Chile’s state oil company, burns; they say they shut off oil and gas valves before evacuating.
All these tanks that go up in flames after being struck by lightning is terrible bad luck. It reminds me of the similar string of bad luck suffered by members of the government lead by Dr Milton Obote. After Idi Amin came to power, they all had the bad luck of dying in traffic accidents.
Los milicos venezolanos enviaron un avión con material para combatir incendios…para la próxima porque esta vez no sirvió. Tuvo que ir a Bonaire la Marina neerlandesa con un buque que tenía en Curaçao.