The Venezuelan regime recently arrested oil workers or retired oil workers who dared to expose the corruption and mismanagement of its state-owned oil company PDVSA and its dire financial, operational and working conditions, Argus reports. Venezuelan military intelligence and its national intelligence service Sebin have arrested two people in recent weeks, including a PDVSA retiree, who openly criticized unsafe working conditions and corruption at the state oil company, said at Argus from the sources of the petroleum industry.
Retired PDVSA employee Guillermo Zarraga, also a union official, was arrested last Saturday by the Sebin intelligence service and accused of terrorism for the explosion of a crude distillation unit in a Venezuelan refinery at the end of October. The Amuay refinery unit in northern Venezuela suffered from an explosion at the end of last month, and Nicolas Maduro – still clinging to power – declared that it was a terrorist attack with a “big and powerful weapon”.
PDVSA has attempted to increase processing rates at the Amuay refinery, as well as the 305,000 bpd Cardon refinery, also in the region, to increase gasoline production amid severe shortages.
This push to increase treatment rates, according to a source who spoke Argus at the time, this may have been what led to the explosion. According to the source, the company was neglecting security concerns as it tried to bring more processing capacity online.
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Leaks about the state of neglect and unsafe conditions at PDVSA often end up in the media, which cites inside PDVSA sources, and now Maduro’s regime appears to want to silence dissidents.
In one of the latest such reports, sources from PDVSA told Reuters this week that PDVSA employees are willing to accept bribes for not reporting crude oil thefts from idle oil fields. because their meager wages quickly evaporate with hyperinflation. Venezuelans steal crude oil for treat it at home produce gasoline amid severe fuel shortages in the country that holds the world’s largest oil reserves.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for OilUSD
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