Enforce Heightened Safety Measures at Venezuelan Oil Refinery

Target: People’s Minister for Energy and Petroleum and President of PDVSA, Rafael Ramírez

Goal: Enact stricter disaster prevention measures and ensure the safety of the Venezuelan people who live and work near the oil refinery in Venezuela, South America.

On August 25th, 2012, one of the largest oil refineries in the world experienced a huge explosion, damaging 500 homes and destroying a National Guard Post. The blast was caused by a gas leak and resulted in the death of at least 42 people and injured 130. Eight people are still missing. The leak was caught an hour before the explosion occurred, giving the company plenty of time to evacuate workers and the community surrounding the refinery. Better management, safety precautions and evacuation plans must be put in place before a disaster such as this happens again.

Critics and those living near the facility blame the explosion on faulty safety standards and lack of maintenance. The blast is among one of the world’s deadliest, leaving citizens angry at the sole owner of the Amuay oil refinery, Petróleos de Venezuela S.A, or PDVSA. Emergency crews did respond after the explosion and helped save the lives of many who now are injured but still alive. However, this does not excuse the fact that if preventative measures were taken and equipment has been taken better care of, this horrific event would not have occurred at all and many innocent people would have been saved.

Union leaders in Venezuela who represent the government and possess close ties with officials are now backing away and accusing the government of under-investment in oil production equipment and safety measures as well as an inept management system. Union leader Orlando Chirino and José Bodas, a secretary for a large oil union, already started doubting the government’s regulations back in 2010, saying they were “putting at risk the lives and health of the workers.” A more thorough investigation on the explosion is being done and will hopefully bring about some answers to the questions PDVSA has been avoiding. It is important, now more than ever, to hold this company accountable for the death of these people and make sure a blast of this magnitude never has the chance to happen again.


Dear People’s Minister for Energy and Petroleum and President of PDVSA, Rafael Ramírez

The recent explosion at the Amuay oil refinery, one of the largest in the world, was a horrific disaster. It killed at least 42 people, injured 130 and 8 are still missing. The blast was one of the largest ever experienced at an oil refinery and could have very easily been prevented. If better safety measures had been put in place and management had taken care of any faulty equipment, a community could have been spared the loss of their homes and loved ones.

I urge you to start enacting more strict regulations and better disaster prevention. While over $6 billion was spent on maintenance over the last three years, seven of nine scheduled stops at Amuay for equipment and safety checks were postponed due to a lack of parts. Residents reported smelling gas as long as an hour before the blast, suggesting that PDVSA has been too slow to react to the problem at hand and delayed an evacuation that could have saved so many lives. Please take action on this issue and help prevent another explosion like this from happening again.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: gordon james brown via geograph

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