PDVSA Refinery emissions: Lungs o the Earth takes a deep breath

Lungs of the Earth, newly and improvedly expanding beyond Brazil, takes on Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA for saying that its refinery emissions are A-OK.

This reminds me of one time when after months of trying to reach the Venezuelan environment minister, Yubiri Ortega, I finally got invited to a press conference with her to hear about Caracas’s plans to confront what was then a growing drought. After the event, I went over and asked her about refinery and diesel emissions. Does the environment ministry have air quality monitoring stations, I asked. She said it has ozone monitoring in several Metro stations. I had seen those, and while ozone monitoring in the Metro is not a bad idea (electric sparks can boost indoor ozone levels) that wasn’t what I was talking about. I asked about diesel and refinery emissions in particular, and she said those were handled by the oil ministry. I said, but you are responsible for writing the standards, and do you have any plan to tighten the standards? She raised her voice and told me to speak to the Oil Ministry, and then walked out.

Here’s a video of refinery emissions, taken rather clumsily from a bus at the cluster of heavy-oil upgraders at Jose, near Barcelona, Anzoategui, Venezuela. While it’s a crappy video, it does show how every few seconds the flare stack flares up hard — which it’s not supposed to do. There was a constant black plume out of these upgraders during that period.

Anyway, Lungs knows more about this than I do. Go read.

2 thoughts on “PDVSA Refinery emissions: Lungs o the Earth takes a deep breath

  1. moctavioguel Octavio

    Setty: My wive’s first job in Venezuela, circa 1979, was to set up a baseline study for the quality of the air in the Faja, she set up five RV’s full with equipment and did indeed measure things before the development even started.

    Of course, Chavez fired all the scientists at INTEVEP in 2003, so I wonder if anyone knows where that info is.

    It was the bad days of the IVth. but for a recent MIT graduate, it was exhilarating…

  2. Kepler

    Setty, thanks for that post and the personal story. I can imagine the cuaima…típica.
    Now: the url doesn’t seem to be valid.

Comments are closed.