El Palito terminal suspected in ongoing oil spill washing up on Venezuelan beaches & National park.
When oil first started washing up on the beaches south of Morrocoy I reported it had likely come from a ship named NAUMA seen broken down off the coast of La Guira, but it seems that may not be the case and the spill or possibly spills are much worse than originally thought and still growing.
On July 20th production of gasoline at Venezuela's El Palito's refinery was restarted following a 2 year shutdown, but just 36 hours later multiple cracks had developed in both the fluid catalytic cracking unit and distillation tower. Crew's managed to produce about 35,000 barrels with jury-rigged repairs that utilized parts cannibalized from the currently inoperative Amuay and Puerto La Cruz refineries. According to union officials they were ordered by military officers put in charge of the national oil sector to double production of gasoline despite warnings increasing production would overload the semi functional refinery. Shortly after attempting the increase leaks were discovered and they were forced to shut back down.
"The cracker and distillation tower could not handle the increasing pressure and processing volumes and several leaks resulted, forcing the operators to execute emergency shutdown protocols," the union official said.
Using a sequence of satellite photos from July 11th to August 15th, we can visualize multiple oil spills from the last month drifting out to sea. The oil was pushed by the current, tide and wind into the beaches surrounding Tucacas including Morrocoy National park and along the coast line to as far as La Guaira.
If the source is the refinery the environmental impact of this spill is especially egregious in that the regime seems to be continuing to attempt to restart despite the potential damage it could do if it continues to spew extremely harmful semi processed oil into the water surrounding El Palito.
Venezuelan legislator Maria Gabriela Hernandez said on Wednesday that the opposition controlled National Assembly has opened an investigation into the cause of the spill.
Ms Hernández, who heads the National Assembly's environment commission, demanded that the state-oil company PDVSA give lawmakers access to maintenance records from El Palito. Union leader Ivan Freites has blamed the spill on heavy rains which caused a ditch of crude and byproducts to spill over and reach the sea, but the satellite photos don't support this version of events and the amount of oil that has now spilled makes this explanation unlikely to be the sole cause.
The Venezuelan regime's Environmental minister Oswaldo Barbera said in a Twitter post August 10th about 6 Km of the spill had been cleaned up at that point and the minister of eco-socialism, Josué Lorca, claimed 90% of the spilled oil had already been cleared up with the help of 1,200 volunteers.
We will continue to monitor the spill and report on any developments.
Written by Simon Bolivar