PDVSA turning into a new Texaco?

This post from Lungs of the Earth needs to be read widely. You’ve probably heard about Amazonians in Ecuador who got polluted all to hell in the 70s by Texaco and PetroEcuador. You know, the ones who are trying to get billions of dollars out of Chevron to help pay for health care and a better cleanup. But for all the publicity of that case, there is a new environmental disaster happening in another beautiful, biodiverse corner of South America. And this time, some international attention could help stop the pollution sooner, before it gets too out of control.

As Lungs of the Earth documents:

An excellent story by David Gonzalez in El Nacional lays out the most glaring problem: at least two PDVSA managers refused to halt output even after the severing of a pipeline had been confirmed and a 30-meter column of oil was shooting into the air. They determined — I shit you not — that it would take too long to restart production if they shut it down.

Text message exchanges documented in a report acquired by an opposition legislator show Edgar Sifontes, Deputy Operations Manager for PDVSA’s El Furrial division, ordered employees not to shut the wells in because it would take some 20 days to get them back up and running. A second manager, Jose Marin, later refused orders from a higher-level PDVSA official to halt Jusepin’s output, citing an order by Sifontes. The result? The pipeline ruptured at 8:40 a.m., and the field was still producing as late as 3:30 in the afternoon. Who knows how much longer the oil continued spilling.

I spent a while trying to fathom what could justify such mind-boggling, reckless incompetence…

Much more, go read.

6 thoughts on “PDVSA turning into a new Texaco?

  1. concerned

    I belive that PDVSA and PetroEcuador are the similar companies, only in this instance PDVSA had no one to blame. PetroEcuador was, and is still poluting the environment, long after Texaco’s exit. I have always heard that you should be careful when pointing your finger, because there are more of your fingers pointing back at you.

    1. sapitosetty Post author

      OK that’s a good point. I mentioned Texaco not because the Ecuador pollution was entirely their fault, but rather because their name has become linked with the pollution of tropical forests and people. Keep in touch.

      1. sapitosetty Post author

        Hey, I just noticed that you posted this from a computer at Chevron. I have no problem at all with your defending your good name, but it would have been more straightforward if you had mentioned that you were writing from the company in question.

  2. westslope

    This is a nice contrast to the way Enbridge handled the pipeline explosion in New Lenox, Illinois just recently. 5 young males road-raced a Mustang and an SUV through a chain-link fence into the pipeline that carries 317,000 barrels/day. The crash resulted in a fiery explosion, two deaths and 3 critically injured. The flow was shut off automatically and crews managed to seal the leak very quickly.

    Line 14 came back online Tuesday, line 64 should be restarted by Thursday.

    Rumours have it that intelligence agencies are looking into the possibility of WRD–weapons of random destruction–alcohol and possibly cocaine.

    1. westslope

      Actually, they didn’t hit “a pipeline” but rather hit the pumping station for two pipelines.

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