Venezuela Refinery Explosion in Amuay, Venezuela

A terrible explosion rocked the Amuay oil refinery in the state of Falcon in Venezuela, killing tens of people in August, 2012.


Description
An explosion rocked the Amuay oil refinery in north-western Venezuela, killing no fewer than 41 people, including a 10-year-old boy, and injuring more than 86 others a Venezuelan official said on Saturday 25th August, 2012. The explosion was caused by a gas leak, the gas cloud exploded, igniting at least three storage tanks, and other facilities at the refinery. The Amuay refinery, one of the biggest in the world was able to produce over 645,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Flames reaching 30 metres into the night air still crackled almost 20 hours after the explosion occurred; giving off searing heat felt by the residents of the neighbourhood located approximately 300 metres from the refinery. The blast damaged 209 homes and 11 shops, while 13 families saw their homes completely destroyed. A panel of investigators was being formed to determine the cause of the gas leak. While the cause of the disaster remains unclear, some oil workers and critics of Chavez's government have recently pointed to increasing numbers of smaller accidents and spills as an indication of problems within the state-run oil company, PDVSA.
Basic Data
NameVenezuela Refinery Explosion in Amuay, Venezuela
CountryVenezuela
ProvinceFalcon State, Venezuela
SiteAmuay Refinery, Northwest, Venezuela
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Oil and gas refining
Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific CommoditiesCrude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Amuay refinery, one of the biggest in the world was able to produce over 645,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Type of PopulationUrban
Start Date25/08/2012
Company Names or State EnterprisesPetroleos de Venezuela South America (PDVSA) from Venezuela
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginUNKNOWN
Groups MobilizingIndustrial workers
Informal workers
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Genetic contamination, Global warming, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Deaths
Potential: Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Migration/displacement
Under negotiation
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The Government of Venezuela has began investigations to determine the cause of the gas leak. Meanwhile authorities have relocated displaced people to the refinery complex and the countrys naval base. Injured victims have been taken for medical treatment. And the Government promised to compensate all dead, injured and displaced victims.
Sources and Materials
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Media Links

New tank burns at Venezuela refinery; death toll revised down
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Other Documents

Amuay fire, 2012
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Meta Information
ContributorAfoke Ohwojeheri
Last update19/07/2016
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