Fire at Venezuela refinery, government says under control

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 10, 2013 4:15 PM

CARACAS (Reuters) - A fire broke out at Venezuela's 146,000 barrel-per-day El Palito refinery on Sunday, but it was being brought under control and has not harmed operations, the oil minister said.

"Our teams are putting out the fire. There is no danger to operations nor to people living near the plant," Rafael Ramirez told state TV, adding the cause was still being investigated.

State oil company PDVSA has suffered a string of accidents, outages and unplanned stoppages for maintenance across its refinery network in recent years, hurting the South American OPEC member's fuel export capacity.

Ramirez said Sunday's fire was in one of the refinery's storage pits. Twitter users posted photos of black smoke billowing over the plant on Venezuela's north coast.

(Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)