A fire broke out today in the fluid catalytic cracking unit at Venezuela's Cardon refinery, the second major blaze at the site since late December.
Operator state-owned PdV declined to comment on the status of the fire or operations, although a former employee and other sources confirmed the event. Images circulating on social media on Sunday showed billowing black smoke coming from the refinery, but the fire may have been brought under control by the evening, one source told Argus.
Cardon has a nameplate capacity of 305,000 b/d, but in recent weeks has run at 60,000 b/d or below, according to outside estimates.
The last recent major fire at Cardon broke out on 26 December and was not extinguished until the next day.
Cardon forms part of the Paraguana complex along with the Amuay and Bajo Grande refineries in western Falcon state.
The Venezuelan oil chamber and past and present PdV workers have expressed concern about the state of Venezuela's oil infrastructure as it attempts to ramp up crude output under eased US sanctions that allow some exports.
Venezuela has already been experiencing a serious gasoline shortage, which it sells at a subsidized price of 50¢/l.