Photo: Venezuela Oil Spill Contained
Venezuelan Environment Minister Alejandro Hitcher said that the oil spill in the eastern state of Monagas has been brought under control after an emergency was declared due to a pipeline rupture at the Jusepin Complex operated by state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA.
“We already have complete control of the oil spill. Ninety percent of the crude is already confined by the containment barriers and is being extracted with the different systems the petroleum industry has to deal with this type of accident,” Hitcher told Telesur television.
“Every effort is being made and teams of 1,500 people have been activated to continue cleaning up the waters of the Guarapiche (River) and its surroundings for the time that may be necessary,” the environment minister said.
An emergency was declared in the eastern state of Monagas due to an oil spill caused by a pipeline rupture at the Jusepin Complex operated by state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, media reports said.
Monagas Gov. Jose Gregorio Briceño declared a state of emergency on Friday, a week after the pipeline ruptured, because crude spilled into the Guarapiche River, which supplies drinking water to a number of communities, the Correo del Caroni newspaper reported on its Web site.
Residents say the oil is spreading and fear it could pollute nearby rivers and reach the Orinoco River, the Ultimas Noticias newspaper reported.
About 80 percent of the residents of Maturin, the capital of Monagas, are without drinking water because oil got into the water plant.
Workers are making progress in keeping the oil from flowing into the river, PDVSA environmental affairs chief Ramiro Ramirez told the official AVN news agency.
“Up to now, the crude residue has not left the river, and as of this time, it has not reached the last control point,” Ramirez said.
PDVSA personnel have deployed containment booms to control the oil spilled into several parts of the river, extraction equipment and pumps, Ramirez said.
The state-owned oil company should immediately investigate the spill and explain why it happened, opposition Congressman Hiram Gaviria, who chairs the National Assembly’s environmental affairs committee, said.