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Venezuela Faces Gasoline Shortages As Protests Drag On

Venezuela

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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  • John Scior on May 18 2017 said:
    It reminds me of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" : Water, water, every where,
    And all the boards did shrink;
    Water, water, every where,
    Nor any drop to drink.

    Only in this case its oil oil everywhere and not a drop of fuel for my tank,
    The Government has seized the oil industry and there's not a cent in the bank.
  • Steve on May 18 2017 said:
    Wow. Where do I start?

    The gasoline shortages are due to the protests? Ya think it might have something to do with the socialism that has destroyed the country????

    2.5 years of low oil prices is causing Venezuela to not pay it's bills??? Really??? Ya think it might have something to do with nationalizing (stealing) the oil industry to be run by political operatives that drove their oil industry in to the ground? The cost of production for Venezuela is around $130 per barrel because they gave oil jobs to people just to give them money. It is so bad that they have to import cheaper oil because their cost of production is so high.

    Please save the propaganda for the New York Times.

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