Venezuela: Oil Spill in Jusepín Demonstrates Pdvsa Safety Failures, Says Expert

The oil spill that occurred this Friday, July 6 in two tanks of the secondary recovery plant of the Jusepín Operational Complex of Pdvsa, demonstrates the safety failures of the Venezuelan state industry.

This is what the biologist, Alejandro Álvarez Iragorry, considers that what happened for the second time in this Pdvsa facility, located in the northwest area of Maturín, is another sign that “PDVSA seems to be operating at the operational minimums “.

Neither the company itself, the Ministry of Petroleum or the Government of Monagas report, 72 hours after the fact, the amount of oil that fell to the Guarapiche River, but also speak of the fact with different terms.

For PDVSA, ” oily waters to the river ” fell ; According to the minister, they were ” oil fluids ” and the regional executive defined it as ” a spill of oil “, which led the authorities to suspend for an indefinite period the pumping of water to 80% of the population of Maturin, since seven of the 10 parishes in the capital of Monaco are supplied by the Guarapiche River .

Álvarez Iragorry, who is also a doctor in Ecology and coordinator of the Clima 21 Coalition, points out that the lack of information is a norm, not only in this accident but in others that have occurred since the one that occurred on  February 4, 2012, also in the Operational Complex of Jusepín, considered one of the most serious in the Venezuelan oil industry.

“I am very concerned because, from the safety point of view, there is a greater chance of a major accident. Since the spill that occurred in the Guarapiche River six years ago, there have been about four more spills, that although they were not originated by PDVSA, some of them like Trinidad and Tobago, when entering Venezuelan marine waters are their responsibility and not they have responded as it should be, “the expert mentions.

For the biologist, without accurate information, you can not alert or recommend the citizens with enough details to take the forecasts as to what happens in these types of cases.

In addition, the contingency plans of PDVSA in each of the spill cases have questioned the capacity to respond. Several photos are remembered of how in 2012, those who were manually blocking the passage of oil in the Guarapiche River did not have uniforms or safety equipment.

Álvarez Iragorry emphasizes this to emphasize that if you add the lack of information, “when everything becomes opaque, you have no idea what is happening.”

Damage and environmental impact

Although it is early to evaluate the environmental impact in the Guarapiche River, which already suffered the effects of the first spill in 2012 when it is estimated that for 21 hours 100 thousand barrels of oil were poured into its bed, a new spill of course that causes a immediate damage in the flow.

The first is the one that affects citizens who are left without water supply indefinitely. The biologist believes that the Maturineses are the ones who must demand an answer from the rulers and authorities. “A healthy river will give healthy water if it is not healthy it will not give healthy water”.

The damage it causes in the river is also direct because it affects the vegetation, the soil and the species that inhabit one of the longest rivers that Monagas has and that crosses the municipalities Cedeño, Maturín and Bolívar.

The Guarapiche has mangroves that were severely contaminated six years ago. The amount of oil that fell in its waters was so great that it travelled 75 kilometres until reaching the French, Cuatro Bocas and Colorad pipes, which are the connection of the Guarapiche with the San Juan River and from there to the Caribbean Sea.

Just to take into account an effect of what happened six years ago, the journalist David González in a work published by the newspaper El Nacional made a tour of the river and this was part of what he said:

The tour lasts almost two hours after which the visitor will feel that he accessed a disaster area. At the foot of the mangroves a black strip protruding half a meter from the water: it looks like a large skirting board at the base of a very long plant wall. As the tide drops, more stems and more roots are exposed and you can see how deep the oil adhered. A fact can illustrate that only a part of the mangroves is visible: if a rod of two and a half meters is put into the water, the riverbed will not be touched yet. A similar landscape can be observed while navigating an approximate distance of 20 kilometres through the pipes adjacent to the San Juan River.

After the spill, this July 6 little is what is known, because as happened in 2012 the secrecy of Pdvsa remains.

the Ministry of Petroleum or the Government of Monagas report

For Álvarez Iragorry, the authorities speak of up to three terms to define the spill, which accounts for the lack of seriousness with which things are carried out, which could try to minimize the impact of those events.

“In case of being some type of residual hydrocarbon, here, in this case, we do not have information about it, it is an even more toxic material. In any case, there is an impact because it does not matter if it is any other waste or water contaminated with hydrocarbon because there is an impact, “he said.


Source: Efecto Cocuyo