PDVSA Controls Amuay Refinery Fire in Venezuela, AVN Says

March 15 (Bloomberg) -- Petroleos de Venezuela, the state oil company, controlled a fire that broke out this morning at the Amuay refinery in northwestern Venezuela, state news agency AVN reported.

PDVSA, as the Caracas-based company is called, is working to extinguish the fire at the refinery, where crude processing is operating at normal levels, AVN said today on its website.

“The principal units were not damaged,” Jesus Luongo, general manager of the Paraguana refining complex, told AVN. Luongo said the fire’s cause is unknown.

The 635,000-barrrel-a-day refinery is part of the Centro Refinacion Paraguana, the largest refining complex in the world. PDVSA operates the adjacent Cardon refinery, which had a fire in March, and was shut by an electrical storm in December.

Today’s explosion may have originated in a distillation unit and was felt in adjacent municipalities, television station Globovision said on its website.

A spokesman for the Paraguana complex wasn’t available to comment by telephone.

Crude oil for April delivery fell $3.89 to $97.30 a barrel at 9:49 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures are up about 23 percent from a year ago.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nathan Crooks in Santiago at ncrooks@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net