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PDVSA Pipeline Spill Affects Drinking Water

An oil spill in Venezuela’s Anzoategui State has affected drinking water across a 31-mile radius, PDVSA confirmed on Monday.

Anzoategui State is known for its beautiful coastline that makes up a single 62-mile-long beach, as well as a robust fishing and tourism industry, which is often in conflict with its main revenue stream, oil.

The leak, although not disclosed until today, apparently happened on 1 November spewing 25,000 barrels of oil, according to opposition lawmaker Jose Brito.

According to Argus media, the pipeline carries extra heavy crude diluted with naphtha from the Orinoco oil belt´s Cabrutica district, near PDVSA’s PetroAnzoategui, PetroCedeño and PetroPiar extra heavy crude operations.

Brito blamed the leak on poor maintenance of the 36-inch pipeline, adding that security forces were blocking access to the area.

PDVSA’s statement said they had taken steps to supply drinking water and to protect local ecosystems, and that they had contained the leak. The rupture to the pipe was apparently caused by “structural failures resulting from a maintenance issue,” and took place near the town of Santa Clara, near the Pao River.

"Clean-up crews have been on site since 2 November, barriers were deployed in the Uribi River to stop the crude and most of the spilled oil already has been removed from the river," according to an official from PDVSA.

The spill is one of several for the state-run oil giant, including one near the end of August that involved an explosion at the Amuay refinery, killing 42 people and wounding 132 others. That explosion followed a spill only ten days prior on August 17 at a refinery on the Caribbean island of Curacao, affecting a nature reserve along with its animal inhabitants.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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