Twenty Questions for Rafael Ramírez


Here’s a mental exercise for you. Imagine just for a second that PDVSA was a properly run oil firm with an adequate worker safety culture and well-developed mechanisms in place to investigate, analyze and learn from past mishaps.

In that scenario – and with apologies to Marianna Parraga, Daniel Wallis and Brian Ellsworth – here are 20 questions that Rafael Ramírez really shouldn’t have any difficulty answering:

  1. Could we see the report from the investigation you conducted this year after a tanker operated by PDVSA damaged its hull by hitting a sandbank in the Caribbean?
  2. Would you explain the exact circumstances that led to the fire that temporarily halted production earlier this year at Cardón, Venezuela’s second-biggest refinery?
  3. What were the causes of the small fire that briefly stopped a distillation unit at Amuay earlier this year?
  4. Could you tell us what was done after a tanker collided with a loading dock at Petroanzoategui, one of Venezuela’s heavy crude upgrader to prevent any repeat?
  5. What new safety procedures were implemented at Petropiar after the small explosion that stopped a unit at the heavy oil upgrader in 2011?
  6. Could you outline the new safety measures introduced after a fire briefly halted operations at a terminal that serves Petroanzoategui, Petropiar and a third upgrader, Petromonagas also last year?
  7. Have you now pinpointed the reasons for the explosion at Petrocedeño, Venezuela’s fourth upgrader, that killed one worker and wounded three last year?
  8. Could you explain the results of your investigation into the three fires that broke out at oil storage terminals on Bonaire and Curacao islands, and at a loading dock at the Cardon refinery on the mainland in 2010? Were you able to verify claims that the two terminal fires were believed to have been caused by lightning storms? What have you done to better protect such facilities from electrical storms?
  9. What were the causes of the explosion that forced the shutdown of the alkylation unit at the Puerto La Cruz refinery two years ago?
  10. What were the circumstances of the oil spills that marred Lake Maracaibo in 2010? Did the police ever apprehend and indict the thieves PDVSA accused of sabotaging facilities to steal equipment causing the spills?
  11. Were you able to ascertain the exact circumstances of the sinking of the Aban Pearl natural gas exploration rig in 2010?
  12. And going back to 2008-2009, why did at least two barges operating on Lake Maracaibo sink while carrying out maintenance work on wells? What have you done, specifically, to ensure that can’t happen again?
  13. Have you come to a definite understanding of the causes of the death of the worker who was killed and buried while operating a coke transporter at the Jose solids terminal in the eastern state of Anzoategui?
  14. And do you understand, with precision, how a worker at the Petroboscán joint venture, formed between PDVSA and Chevron, died of a head injury while operating a drilling rig in Zulia state in 2007?
  15. Have you looked in detail at the dozen failures at refineries recorded in 2007? How about the spillage of 140,000 gallons of gasoline at Curacao’s giant Isla refinery that led to the evacuation of schools and businesses in the area?
  16. Could you explain the specific operational changes you implemented after the five accidents that claimed three lives and injured five people at the Paraguana Refining Complex (CRP) in 2007?
  17. Could you explain the new safety routines you implemented after five workers died and 20 were wounded in an explosion in November 2005 at the CRP?
  18. What were the lessons learned from the huge fire that killed at least two workers at the La Salina boarding terminal in Zulia state in 2004?
  19. And what did you do to avoid any repeat of the explosion at an electrical substation at Amuay that injured two workers in 2003?
  20. Finally, can you explain why two drilling barges caught fire and sank in Lake Maracaibo in 2003, and why that can’t happen again?
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  1. Another question for Rafael Ramírez: Drilling Rig in Anaco Blows Up. And I quote from Caracas Chronicles of July 2007:

    Simón Boccanegra says: Some of the stuff that’s been going down recently borders on Caribbean surrealism. The story about the Chinese drilling rigs is pure farce. Readers may remember that, some weeks ago, one of those Chinese rigs PDVSA has been importing blew up. Turns out that when the two rigs arrived, PDVSA’s people realized the manuals were in Chinese. But instead of going to the Chinese oil company and asking their technicians for help, what did they do? The went to a Chinese restaurant in Anaco and asked the staff for a translation! Turns out the chinese guys working there were cantonese, and the manual was in mandarin, so they couldn’t help the ingenious engineers from the red, very red PDVSA. Undaunted, they went back and tried to run the rig anyway. The result is already fodder for yesterday’s newspaper: the thing blew up. It reads like a Three Stooges script, but it isn’t.

    There were a lot of informative comments on the article, which disappeared with the nth change in the commenting software.

    • Chinese restaurant???!!!!

      If the manual were in English, I wouldn’t be able to translate it, and I AM an engineer (just not a petroleum engineer). Even if the restaurant employees HAD understood Mandarin, they wouldn’t have been familiar with the technical vocabulary! A REAL engineer would have known that.

      • Good points. The comments to the article discussed such points, among others. Unfortunately, the comments have gone down the rabbit hatch, with the umpteenth change in blogging software: not all change is good.

  2. Looks like the Chavernment will not just minimize what happened but politicize it at the same time:

    Venezuelan heartlessness.

    • Yes, it is the Chavistas who are “politicizing” it… god the irony around here is fucking surreal!!!

      Do you know what it means to politicize something? Take a look in the mirror for god’s sake.

      • Neither Capriles’ campaign or his direct affiliates are politicizing it in this way. In fact, I would bet some commentators here are disappointed that he hasn’t called for the resignation of top officials. Sure you’ll find politicizing on blogs and twitter by supporters, but it’s nothing like this.

        • I was referring to the way this very blog has been politicizing it from the very beginning. And despite your nonsense claim, it is the same for the opposition in general. Turn on Globovision. Look at Twitter. Is Maria Corina Machado not a “direct affiliate” of Capriles??? The injured hadn’t even begun showing up at the hospital and all of you people were already politicizing it. Anyone who claims otherwise (you) is full of shit.

          • So if you admit you are politicizing it, you must also recognize the hypocrisy of criticizing others for doing the same.

          • So what do you suggest? That we all gather around the campfire (oops, nope, I mean the water cooler) and lament what happened and leave it at that?

            Don’t you think the rational choice is to sack the responsible person, aka Rafael Ramirez, for allowing a culture of “mañanismo” to pervade what was once a First World Company?

            Face, Clueless, this IS political whether you like it or not. This is the goose that lays the Golden Eggs and someone F’Ed up big time.

            There is ZERO excuse for lack of maintenance. Not with the Billions and Billions that rained upon our coffers.

            No vale, Get a Conscience, Get A Life and Get Out Of the Kitchen if you can’t stand the HEAT.

          • I suggest that you don’t jump to conclusions without having evidence. I suggest that you don’t immediately begin pointing the finger without really knowing what happened. I suggest that you don’t attempt to use the personal tragedy of others for you own political gain.

            You don’t know that this explosion was due to a lack of maintenance. You are assuming that because that is what you WANT to believe. It suits your agenda. The truth is that explosions can happen at any refinery, in any country, for a variety of causes, as you can see here:


            There were two fires at oil refineries in the United States over the last few weeks alone!


          • Jumping to conclusions??? Your Comandante already did that when he ruled out that the reason was due to lack of maintenance or a gas leak (in spite of massive evidence to the contrary)… all before even putting out the fires to allow an investigation to be performed!

          • Get a clue: You are right. Two incidents in US refineries in the last few days. But guess what? No one was injured. More than 40 people have lost their lives in Amuay, civilians who lived near the premises, employees and GN personnel. Big difference, don´t you think?

          • You got some nerve, you are outraged because the blog is politicizing the explosion, when the President of the country declares : “Dice la Biblia: la muerte será absorbida por la victoria. Todos estos muertos, que se fueron físicamente, resucitan cada día con la victoria de la patria (he winning the elections)” and that the show (his “unavoidable” victory) must go on. I cant imagine a more naked, crude and offensive politicization of what happened. The cover up and the ruling out of the maintenance issue and leak hypothesis are politicization, when the people responsible for an objective and clean investigation are ruling out before hand two likely clauses (lack of maintenance, considering that according to PDVSA’S own numbers they performed less than 30% of scheduled maintenance stops and that the people in the town were smelling gas the days before the explosion) because they prefer to avoid responsibility before the country and looking good “politically” than founding out the true and establishing the true cause.

          • Wrong again. He didn’t rule out a lack of maintenance. What he said is that it would be irresponsible to make that speculation without having information, which is exactly what you all are doing here.

            “No se puede obviar ninguna hipótesis”, indicó Chávez, al señalar que aún no se ha podido llegar al foco del siniestro. No obstante, el presidente pidió “no caer en especulaciones” y rechazó las versiones que “sin ninguna prueba” hablan de falta de mantenimiento o de que había un escape de gas que no se atendió a tiempo.

          • Alex,

            So now its not the government’s fault that there was an explosion, just that people died in the explosion? As if anyone can control that.

            In the United States oil refineries are very seldom built close to housing districts. But I suppose it is also Chavez’s fault that there are housing districts close to the refinery…

          • Of course the management is going to try to deny it. Their asses are on the line. But Chavez did NOT rule out a lack of maintenance (as was falsely claimed above), and said to await the results of the investigation.

            Of course, I can already tell you that no one here will accept the results of the investigation unless it tells them exactly what they want to hear. Just like you won’t accept the results of the election unless your candidate wins. That’s what happens when you are intellectually dishonest.

          • I wrote “the people responsible for an objective and clean investigation are ruling out before hand two likely clauses” I quoted Chavez as the worst example of politicizing, but at least nominally the people responsible for what happened is the management of PDVSA, who if they were worried to show a little bit of seriousness about what happened would shut up and wait for the results. Explosions in refineries do happen, this just happen to be the deadliest in the country’s history and the worst worldwide in almost 20 years.
            About intellectual dishonesty, it funny that you do that when accusing me of not accepting results of elections that haven’t yet taken place or not even knowing what is my personal position regarding the transparency of the count of the CNE.

          • Roy made the claim up above genius, and I responded. And please spare us the dishonest nonsense. If the investigation comes back and says the explosion was not due to a lack of maintenance you aren’t going to accept it. No nos caigamos a mojones…

          • Si es cuestión de no caernos a mojones, tu muy en el fondo sabes que el resultado de la investigación jamás va a decir que fue por falta de mantenimiento.

          • I’d rather be intellectually dishonest than have the blood of 48 (and counting) innocent people on my hands.

          • Had to laugh at GACs accusations of intellectual dishonesty. Cachicamo diciéndole a morrocoy conchudo. Never have I read so much patinaje from this personaje. You’d think he was on steroids, defending Utopia against all odds, single-handedly circling the wagons on this blog.

            Da lástima. A grown man defending an idol, in the face of a crumbling state. No hay peor ciego …

          • I’d rather be guilty of an accident, than be purposely and dishonestly using another’s tragedy for my own political agenda. I’d rather commit an error by accident than be a despicable human being.

          • I’m sure you also condemn the political use Chavez gave of this incident when he gave his speech last night.

          • Capriles is having a speech right now about it and talking about how the issue transcends politics, “es importante que se haga una profunda reflexion sobre los henchos que estan ocurriendo en Venezuela.”

            I’m not full of shit, Capriles is playing Obama’s game of playing all sides, it’s great, and it’s what pisses you the fuck off and makes you get insulting.

            Capriles is going to make it a part of the campaign, there is no doubt about it, it is an important issue, “en ano 2011 ocurrieron 349 eventos de los cuales se reportaron 157 lesionados.”

            Are you trying to argue that this isn’t relevant to the elections?

          • We weren’t politicizing. We were merely responding to Eva Golinger’s immediate claims that “sabotage” was the cause of the accident.

          • Yah, I wonder which poor species gets the blame next. Someone mentioned that the Zamuro would get it, but I wonder, can those beaks puncture metal?

            I’m putting my money on the Chiguire.

            They’ll claim they were too busy laughing to do any proper maintenance y por eso se jodio la vaina.

            ‘ ‘Tabanos a punto de arreglar la vaina esa cuando vimos lo del Chiguire por el tuite ese ‘er coño. Tanto nos cagamos de risa que tubimos que ir par baño. Luego me orbide, y bueno, las vainas pasan…….”

          • Yeah JC, all of this commentary on this blog over the last few days is just in response to Eva Gollinger’s comments!!! Do you even believe the nonsense that comes out of your mouth?

          • Get an idiot:

            First, I suggest you get medically checked for your selective amnesia, as you have so easily “forgotten” the words of your red doll (Eva Golinger) and other camp followers, who JUMPED to tweet the implication that the Amuay explosion was an act of sabotage. Jesus!

            Second, I suggest you leave the re-writing of human nature and social history to others more qualified. For evidently, you cannot see that PDVSA is an arm of the State. It was thus, long before Chávez, and became more so financially since 2002. As such, any tragedy that occurs in a State-related environment comes with defacto political liabilities, at the end of the “investigation”, if it ever is concluded and the results published.

            P.S. In the event you and doll-face pull out the CIA or other hare-brained cards, as perpetrator behind the sabotage, then Rafael Ramírez should be fired for not ensuring better security. Either way, RR should be accountable for what is happening.

          • Let me see if I understand Syd’s reasoning here.

            1. Since Eva Gollinger wrote one stupid tweet, that means we can do the same thing, but on a much larger scale.

            2. Since PDVSA is state-owned, that automatically means that any tragedy occurring at PDVSA installations is the fault of the state, and President Chávez, even though explosions are common at oil refineries all over the world. There were two such explosions in the United States so far this month.

            3. Rafael Ramirez should be held directly responsible for this explosion, even though we don’t know if it directly related to a negligence of his or others at the plant.

          • Well let’s see, Eva Gollinger has written more than one stupid tweet, just about ALL of them are stupid.

            She is a journalist working for a state owned media company, so what she tweets or communicates should be judged on a stricter basis than a private citizens tweets. That said, even as a private citizen her tweets suck.

            SInce PDVSA IS state owned, controlled, sacked by the state, sucked dry by the state, then yes, whatever happens there, good or bad, gets laid at the feet of the state.

            I don’t care what happened at any other refinery not owned/operated by PDVSA, I care about what happens at PDVSA because it IS MY OIL. MINE and 27 milion others OIL.

            I PAY Rafael Ramirez and the other 99,999 useless hangers on to operate MY REFINERIES like the big boys do, not like some socialist incompetents whose loyalty to a failed model is more important than their qualifications to run MY REFINERIES.

            So yes, RR and the other “teats on a Boar Hog” should be canned and the ones directly responsible for security and safety and maintenance should additionally be tried for negligence. In a civilized country, RR’s resignation letter would be on Chavez’ desk by yesterday.

          • Enough with “explosions happen all over the world” excuse. Enough with “la cuarta era lo mismo”. Can’t we actually strive to be better? Also people get murder too, but the rate in which they happen here is far worse than any where else. Same as the accidents in Venezuela. I friggin hate to excuse someone’s or my own mediocrity by saying that others are mediocre too.

            If the accident had occurred in Polar, the government would be all over their ass right now.

            Also, we should have zero tolerance for these accidents. I don’t think the president is liable for what happens in PDVSA, but the president of PDVSA definitely is. In Venezuela happens to be a guy appointed by the president and definitely not a guy that was prepared for that.

            The facts are that there is a long list of incidents and no lessons have been learn. It is not the first time an explosion happens and it is not the first time that it led to casualties. And nothing happened, so based on that trend, this government will look the other way and deny anything that might not be convenient.

          • Get a clue, the country is falling apart. Nervous yet? Maybe is time to get back to the US and start leeching the US system. The Revolution will soon be over.

          • Fe,

            Certainly you need a lot of “fe” to believe your nonsense. Come talk to me on October 8th, when you’ve been put in your place once again.

          • Prick! Read the reports! Rafael Ramirez’s “Roja rojita” PDVSA (i.e., chavista hasta las metras) has not followed the safety protocols(yes, it says in the fucking report PDVSA wrote). Of nine shutdowns scheduled last year only 2 took place.

            For God’s sake, moron, whenever there’s a gas leak there’s supposed to be detectors EVERYWHERE in the refinery to accuse it and in a matter of minutes the alarms go off and the building is cleared! Thank god this happened on a saturday at 1am. If not the casualties would have been much much worse.

            And you know what? Yes, we escualidos seem to be the only group of people in this country who tell crooks at PDVSA what a a shitty job they’re doing. There’s been warnings for years and the government doesn’t give a shit cuz all that matters is winning on Oct 7th. So yes, opposition politicians and oil pundits are well within their right to say “We told you so, Chavez”.

          • This is not politicization. It’s not even value-judgement. If you’re telling someone they suck at what they do BASED ON EVIDENCE, you’re just stating a fact.

  3. 21. And since we’re on the topic of industrial security, what are you doing to protect Pdvsa employees and contractors from armed assaults on rigs in Lake Maracaibo?

  4. Folks, folks, as our chavista friends say, we can’t politicize the fact that the country is falling apart. That is not relevant for the political discussion. Move along people, there is nothing to see here.

    • Neo Potemkin pueblos: rampant violence, a drastic rise in homicides and drug trafficking, a sustained lack of maintenance causing decay in infrastructure, foreign agents infiltrated in government and affiliated posts, a twisted rule of law set up for convenience, the tightening of basic supplies to create discomfort and dependence, the lavish gifts towards certain other countries….The list goes on and on.

      Clearly,all of it is the fault of the o-l-i-g-a-r-c-h-y, the i-m-p-e-r-i-o, the m-a-j-u-n-c-h-e-s, the b-u-r-g-u-e-s-e-s, the c-a-p-i-t-a-l-i-s-t-s. Which like the delusions over the murderers of Simón Bolívar, is not a political discussion.

    • JC,

      You can politicize all you want, but then it looks pretty silly to be criticizing the other side for doing the same thing, wouldn’t you say?

      The more intelligent thing would be to only politicize those things for which you have clear information to back you up. In this case you look like a bunch of zamuros circling over someone else’s tragedy, seeking to make it fit your agenda with ZERO evidence to back you up.

      But it’s cool, you end up making yourself look all the worse.

      • Dude, it´s obvious a huge LEAK of gas caused a propane-methane accumulation that extended way beyond the premises of the refinery. These gases are denser than air, they just don´t float away into the atmosphere. It had to take several hours for the low lying cloud of volatile gas to cover so much ground. Call it neglicence, call it lack of maintenance, fact is this was not your regular hard-to-detect oven gas leak and nobody gave a heck about repairing the fault before it became a major issue.

        No puedes tapar el sol con un dedo mi pana.

        • You don’t know if any of what you just said is true or not. No one knows any of that yet. That’s why they are investigating it. But obviously you don’t care what the truth is, you just care how you can use it to benefit your agenda. Not only is it dishonest… it is sickening.

          • It has been established that you don’t know what you are talking about.

            The problem for your friends is that in any country with a real legal system this would go into a criminal negligence trial very quickly. You see refineries don’t just blow up, they have layers upon layers of technology, equipment, safety checks, sensors and emergency alarms and procedures to make operating such a facility safe.

            This was clearly a Gas explosion caused by an uncontrolled leak out of the storage tanks. It’s the first incidence you train for in how to operate a refinery.

            It is criminal negligence to operate a petrochemical facility if you don’t strictly follow safety procedures. Your friends – with their greed and incompetence – killed 50 Venezuelans.

            I trust sooner rather than later the negligent management will get what it deserves.

            I wonder what would you think if your daughter or wife was among the victims.

            Perhaps you’d like to blame it on the irregular winds like R.Ramirez was suggesting.

          • Refineries don’t just blow up? Here’s a few of the most notable examples in the last ten years, all over the world.


            I blame the tragedy on whoever allowed housing districts to be built so close to a refinery. Because anyone with a brain (obviously not you) knows that refineries are notorious for explosions, and regardless of all the safety measures that should be taken, sooner or later something is going to happen, as even the right-wing media recognizes:


          • Yes and in a real legal system there would be the mother of all class action lawsuits going on, instead of personal handouts from the big man.

  5. My only question is: what would the chavernment do / say if this where an incident involving a private business?
    – La destrucción creada por el capitalismo
    – No invierten en mantenimiento ni se preocupan de los obreros solo para maximizar ganancias
    – Expropiese!
    You can continue the list…

  6. The worst part about all this is that nothing will really come of it. Once the fires are out and everything is cleaned up they’ll just send all the workers back into an environment that’s already been proven to be unsafe in order to squeeze every penny they can out of oil production. The more the Bolivarian Revolution advances the more it resembles the heartless capitalists it claims to despise.

    • You’re right – nothing will come out of it. As nothing has come out of all the oilfield expropriations, those companies still laying in tatters, boats tossed up on the docks along the lake – everything gone to waste. Look at the Parque Central Torre Este – up in smoke and still not reopened after nearly 8 years. I venture to predict that if Chavez wins in October, Amuay will never reopen.

  7. Do you know something sad! about the carlos luis the jose coquer worker 2008 death? The silent of his partner .they did not nothing about the dangerous contition of the site :fails remaing till now

  8. Preguntas sobre Amuay que no veo que nadie esté haciendo (al menos aquí, en Venezuela). And sorry, but I’m not in the mood right now for jotting them down in Shakespeare’s lingo.

    ¿Qué hacía un destacamento de la GN dentro del recinto de la planta, y además a menos de 200 m de las esferas donde se almacenan gases peligrosos, como butano y propano?

    ¿Por qué había una empresa (Puramin) instalada a menos de 500 m del perímetro exterior de la refinería?

    ¿Por qué se permitió que se construyeran varios barrios a menos de 1 km del recinto de la refinería?

    ¿Cuándo, quiénes tomaron la decisión de instalar en el recinto de Amuay e inmediatos aledaños a personas otras que los trabajadores de PDVSA?

    • ¿Por qué había una empresa (Puramin) instalada a menos de 500 m del perímetro exterior de la refinería?

      Puramin, C.A. se estableció en una época (1974) cuando se le daba más importancia a los estándares de calidad, en la industria petrolera venezolana. Yo me imagino que durante los próximos 28 años, la ubicación de la planta, al lado de Amuay, produjo pocas inquietudes y mayores economías de escala. También me imagino que a partir del 2002, aumentó el riesgo de ubicación, por razones comprobadas durante esta tragedia.

  9. Today somebody asked Chávez if there is a list of missing people, because there are families seeking relatives. Chávez was not amused and let minister Sander -somewhat- answer. It strikes to me, at no moment they talked about missing people, only slowly rising the casualties… Openness and transparency, yeah, sure.

  10. Get a clue needs like more than a billion clues to understand that Chávez and his allies should resign inmediately for being so irresponsible, for murdering venezuelans and YES, it was, is, and always be an issue of maintenance in the refineries. Why did they fire the more than 20.000 PDVSA workers that were skilled and properly trained for the jobs they had? Porque estos CDSM se creen tan sobraos que los manuales de ingeniería en Mandarín se los iban a explicar MESONEROS cantoneses. Qué bolas

    • Yes, the explosion at Amuay was murder. I wonder if you possibly be more ridiculous?

      As for the PDVSA workers fired, only a total ignoramus doesn’t know the reason for their dismissal. They engaged in a shut-down of the oil industry with the intentions of overthrowing the government. Not only is that illegal, in many places (such as the US) it would be considered treason.

  11. Meanwhile, PSF luminary James Petras is calling for suspended elections:

    “Según el estadounidense, el Presidente Chávez debe tomar medidas enérgicas rápidas como la implantación del Estado de Emergencia o de excepción o algo de la misma naturaleza si no quiere que se aborte la Revolución Bolivariana bajo el pretexto y el libertinaje que a los enemigos concede el proceso electoral; la disyuntiva es: o la Revolución o el Proceso Electoral.
    Según el intelectual, la respuesta del Ministro Rafael Ramírez ha sido muy débil y ha actuado como un “tecnócrata” lidiando con un incendio normal, lo cual podría estimular nuevos sabotajes.”

    Reconócelo pueblo!

    • I think “murder” is a pretty good description: at least, as so well described by Jacintoa above, the allowing of GAN barracks and civilian dwellings so near highly combustible massive storage tanks is criminal negligence, and would be prosecuted as such in any civilized country (not in Venezuela, obviously) of the world, regardless of the real cause(s) of the explosion/fire. As for the latter, we will NEVER know the probable negligent causes of the “exhaustive investigation” (read April 11, Comision De La Verdad, as just one small example). As they say in Criollo: “Zamuro Cuidando Carne”–which, as I think of it, is a good description of Get A Clue!!

      • Those “civilian dwellings” were built near the refinery long before Chavez, so I guess you are saying that those responsible for the “murder” is the IV republic. You guys are brilliant…

        • I said the “allowing” of civilian dwellings–GAC, time to start preparing your return to Cuba, unless you’re Eva, then it’s back to the campus of some Leftist University (hopefully not the U.S., where your citizenship should be revoked for voting in a foreign presidential election).

  12. Hey Get Billions of Clues, if you don’t give the proper maintenance to a refinery, it can explode. Neighbors had already said it smelled like gas ( not like teen spirit). So irresposability in a case like that is sheer killing. You realy need to get a clue or maybe a life. It’s very easy to call me ridiculous. Qué facil salirse del paquete ¿No?

  13. I know Get a Clue is just trying to bait everyone with his ridiculous attempts at defending the impossible.

    But…..a country with a true independent police investigative service and a true independent prosecutor general/attorney general would have already opened an independent investigation into the explosion and the circumstances leading to it to understand whether murder or criminal negligence charges were warranted.

    I believe that this is what happened at the BP Texas City refinery explosion which took almost two years to investigate bfore charges were brought against BP and the responsible executives…….how do I know that this will never happen with the “New” PDVSA????

  14. If i can, I would like to introduce some economic concepts into the argument.
    1. First of all, there has been a number of facts submitted that maintenance has been delayed for a variety of reasons.
    2. Maintenance delay has an economic basis. It is a type of gamble. Unlike gambling in a casino, where money is risked up front in attempt to win more money later (type A), delaying maintenance is risking a disaster in order preserve cash paid out up front (type B).
    3. Type A is economic when cash in had is said to have less utility value than the utility value of possible winnings.
    4. Type B is economic when cash in hand is insufficient to meet demands, and the sole recourse is to delay payment to those needs that can be reasonably delayed on the hope there will not be an unlikely disaster.
    5. The economic environment in Venezuela is arguably ripe for a Type B proposition… especially during a time of low government liquidity and a tight election!

    • I didn’t quite make my point. Let me try again. Type A is when money in the hand is worth much less than possible winnings. Type B is when money in the hand is worth much more than possible disaster losses.

      It seems to me that money has been diverted to giving away houses and washing machines, money for expensive weapon systems, subsidizing cheap gasoline, importing products that domestic producers are unable to compete with because of political constraints, politicized educational systems that fail to prepare a competitive work force, Cuban assistance, petroleum to comrades in arms, ambulances to Bolivia, etc….. that are somehow deemed more valuable than maintenance to government enterprise factories, highways, and other public infrastructure.

  15. Get a CLue Job is done here. He has managed to keep visitors answering to him/her and his/her agenda! Do not feed the trolls people. Wise up!

    Where are the shots going?
    This will be spined to be sabotage, as the recent bridge colapses, etc, adn the elections will be jeopardized IMO….

    What do you think?

  16. Even if it was poor maintenance (which it was, it’s the most logical answer) the findings will always come back as sabotage. Why? Because there can’t be any other explanation with little more than a month left to go for the election. There was no gas leak, the gringos and their lackeys did it, end of story. Refineries only blow up for two reasons: Crap maintenance or terrorist attacks and despite all the Chavez-crying-wolf we’ve seen over the last decade there just haven’t really been any domestic terrorists rounded up in Venezuela. It just doesn’t happen. Oh I’m sure they’ll parade some idiot gringo drug runner who got caught at the border and pretend he’s a dangerous terrorist but at the end of the day the only people that are retarded enough to believe that PDVSA’s stellar safety measures are impeccable are the hardcore PSUVs.

  17. Juan Cristóbal Nagel:
    I’d rather be intellectually dishonest than have the blood of 48 (and counting) innocent people on my hands.

    Most likely the government will achieve both ends. Will there be an honest report from the government regarding the causes of the accident? The track record says no.

  18. These are very good questions, Quico, and cannot simply be called contentious. That’s one huge part of the responsibility of some guy claiming to be Minister of Energy and Mines and President of Petroleos de Venezuela.

    They deal not just about the present addition to the safety record (dismal by any account or measure), but about the recent and past safety record (horrid), and about the steps that should have been taken to eliminate the perils oil workers are exposed to. It seems you forgot the Guarapiche river oil spill in the list.

    The simple conclusion, on unsatisfactory or nonexistent answer of any of these questions, is that PDVSA has no safety culture whatsoever, and that Rafael Ramirez and PDVSA directive should step down and face criminal charges and time in jail, if there were any decency or humanity left in Venezuelan institutions. I don’t expect as much. Sadly they will get the opportunity to kill again through negligence and corruption.

    Heed not the off-topic from the start Get a Clueless (PSF) Troll, commenters. He is out to create trouble. A question for him: If the “oppo” PDVSA workers that were sacked had criminally sabotaged installations, as chavismo claimed in 2002, why none of this happened until well after chavismo got full control of PDVSA?

  19. Get a clue :

    The truth is that explosions can happen at any refinery, in any country, for a variety of causes, as you can see here:[links follow]

    For a more knowledgeable comparison:

    That philosophy has been laid out in all its glory with Saturday’s massive explosion, at the Amuay refinery, part of a 955,000-barrel-a-day complex, that has become the second deadliest in the history of the oil industry and the worst ever in the Western Hemisphere.

    Yup, happens at any refinery , in any country. If only Get a clue would get a clue- or two.

    • You didn’t disprove what I said. Rather, you simply pasted a paragraph from an opinion article.

      The truth is that explosions DO occur at refineries all the time. 2 have taken place in the United States this month alone. The difference in death toll in this case had much more to do with the proximity of housing districts, something less common in the United States.

      But I suppose if your opinion article is correct, it must mean that these kinds of accidents didn’t occur during the IV republic. Right?

      • Yes, you are correct McInnis, I mean, GAC. Explosions happen at refineries all the time.

        Refineries by definition are dangerous places, since they handle some of the most flammable and inflammable substances known to man.

        It is therefore hard to understand why of the 9 programmed scheduled maintenances PDVSA had on tap for Amuay, per PDVSA’s own report mind you, only 2 were completed. Given that as a fact, it is hard to imagine that this somehow does not play into the scenario that the accident that occurred was somehow due to lack of maintenance.



        El Plan original año 2011, contempló la ejecución de 9 paradas programadas en las cuales se consideraron las siguientes unidades: Desintegración
        Catalítica (DCAY), Alquilación (ALAY), Isomerización (ISAY), Tame (TMAY), Destiladoras 2 y 3 (PSAY-2/3), Hidrotratamiento de destilados livianos y
        pesados (HDAY-2/4) y Reformación de Gas Natural (HYAY-1). Sin embargo, las paradas de las unidades DCAY, ALAY, ISAY, TMAY, PSAY-2/3 y HDAY372
        2, fueron desfasadas en su mayoría para el año 2012 por baja disponibilidad de materiales.

        La unidad de Hidrotratamiento de VGO, (HDAY-4) cumplió parada general para mantenimiento, luego de haber ocurrido incendio el 15/03/11, en el sistema de alta presión de la torre absorbedora. La parada programada fue iniciada el 15/04/11 y finalizada el 15/08/11, con extensión de 81 días, motivados a retrasos asociados a la logística de recibo de equipos mayores, re-trabajos en pruebas hidrostáticas de intercambiadores y apelmazamiento de catalizador, adicional a falla eléctrica general ocurrida en mayo.

        La unidad HYAY-1 cumplió parada general para mantenimiento, la cual fue iniciada el 27/04/11 y finalizada el 02/08/11, con extensión de 49 días, motivados a retrasos en la recepción de materiales asociados, apelmazamiento de catalizador y falla eléctrica general.

        The above from PDVSA’s annual report, 2011.

        These delays for lack of parts were not a problem in the 4th Republic, but are “el pan de cada dia” in the so called 5th.

  20. GAC yes, there are many other refinery explosions and accidents in the worldwide oil and gas industry, public and private companies. But a large part of the major tragedies the past several decades happened at: processing areas in refinery complexes (like the BP Texas explosion) And a lot of these accidents also happen while maintenance or repair work is being performed. From what the press is saying, the Venezuela refinery explosion started in storage tanks located at one end of the complex. Unless there was maintenance work being done in the area – and it doesn’t say – this is hardly the place where most accidents start. However, if the maintenance is bad and safety measures are weak it is the place where the biggest explosions can happen


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