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Venezuela’s largest oil export terminal is has resumed operations and is now operating at 100 percent capacity after a blackout took it offline earlier in the week, according to Reuters sources, but chances are its problems are not over just yet.
The most recent blackout was the second such blackout in about as many weeks, straining an already strained oil industry that serves as the lifeblood of Venezuela. The first blackout in early March shuttered the Jose oil port—Venezuela’s largest—after the Guri dam hydropower plant, supposedly responsible for supplying nearly 80% of the country with power, went offline.
Some oil production, too, was shut in as a result of both blackouts, which the Maduro regime claims was an act of sabotage at the hands of the United States.
While the scale of the recent blackouts is profound, Venezuela’s power blackouts are nothing new, and most experts agree that the blackouts are likely the result of the severe neglect of its infrastructure that has gone on for many years. Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro both were forced to take extreme measures to deal with its power problems, including altering time zones to get the most out of daylight hours, instituting bans on electricity-heavy appliances such as clothes and hair driers, and entire public-sector shutdowns.
The recent string of power blackouts not only choked off Venezuela’s only real revenue stream—crude oil—it plunged its citizenry into a whole new brand of horror as hospitals went without power and food supplies came up short.
It is unlikely with its oil revenue stream drying up that Venezuela will have the funds to invest in its failing critical infrastructure without the aid of a foreign entity with a large wallet. Even its foreign oil interests are no longer providing it with a revenue stream as new sanctions are restricting financial transactions from its partnerships in both Jamaica and Dominican Republic oil refineries.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.