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Some parts of Venezuela faced gasoline shortages on Wednesday as old refineries shuttered due to technical issues and protests that blocked scheduled deliveries, according to a new report by Reuters.
Low oil production has caused the country’s fuel supplies to become unstable. Now residents of the southwestern states of Anzoategui and Bolivar have to wait in long lines to get fuel for their vehicles. The city of Tachira, known for its anti-government protests, has been particularly active in its demonstrations over the past few days, and saw similar wait times.
No fuel shortages were reported in Caracas.
Eulogio Del Pina, head of the state-run oil company PDVSA said nearly two months of protests were to blame for the lines.
"We've said that when there are risky situations, or disruptions of public order, drivers are kept off the roads because these irrational (protesters) do not take risks into account," Del Pino told reporters, according to Reuters.
Internal PDVSA reports say that three of the country’s four refineries have been producing at record low rates due the lack of spare parts and defunct equipment.
"This problem [of fuel shortages] won't end until production at the refineries improves," said the manager of one service station located in Bolivar, a state that has seen a few modestly sized protests.
Related: Venezuela’s Oil Production On The Brink Of Collapse
The South American OPEC member is thought to be sitting on nearly 300 billion barrels of oil, far more than any other country in the world, including Saudi Arabia, with estimated reserves at 268 billion barrels.
But 2.5 years of low oil prices have made it difficult for the country to pay its bills, import foreign goods for mass consumption, and provide key government services. Austerity measures and the government’s inability to solve the economic crisis has the eruption of nationwide protests.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…