He said that the attack was carried out with “a powerful weapon” and caused the fall of a tower at the Amuay plant.
The explosion that paralyzed the Amuay refinery, one of the largest in Venezuela, was the product of an attack, Nicolás Maduro denounced this Wednesday. It caused the fall of one of its towers, an incident that occurs in the middle of a crisis facing the local oil industry and which has paralyzed a large part of the country’s refining system.
The episode was denounced by the Venezuelan president, who stated that the refinery located in the western state of Falcón suffered, at 2:30 in the afternoon on Tuesday, a “terrorist attack” with a “powerful weapon ” that the authorities are investigating.
Amuay, which has a generation capacity of more than 650,000 barrels per day, is part of the Paraguaná Refining Complex and in 2012 suffered an accident of great magnitude that left about 55 dead and 156 injured.
Maduro expressed in a press conference that as a result of the attack “they brought down a tower” which is thicker than a war tank. “They wanted to cause a total explosion at the Amuay refinery” said the leftist president without offering further details of the incident or evidence.
Maduro added that two days ago, two foreigners linked to destabilizing activities were arrested in the western state of Zulia.
Since the beginning of the year, Venezuela (which has one of the largest oil reserves in the world) has faced severe problems of fuel shortages that it has managed to overcome thanks to the support of Iran, one of the closest allies of the Maduro government, which has sent about eight ships of fuel and additives to produce gasoline.
About the fuel situation, The Venezuelan president said that the country has 20 days of gasoline reserve.
Maduro pointed out, without revealing further details, that Venezuela has not only imported gasoline from Iran but also from “various regions”.
Likewise, the president confirmed that an Iranian aircraft arrived in the country on Tuesday, but did not specify what cargo was on the plane, and recalled that during this year several planes from Iran traveled to Venezuela that carried oil spare parts, medicines and other products.
The attack on the Amuay refinery comes a month after the arrest in Falcón of the alleged US spy Matthew John Heath, who has been accused of carrying out “espionage activities” and “destabilization” in Venezuelan territory with the support of the military. and civilians to prepare attacks against oil and electricity facilities.
Heath was charged with the crimes of terrorism, illicit arms trafficking and association.
The American was accused of having worked for the contractor MVM, a private security company based in Virginia, United States, fulfilling a mission in Iraq and of working with that company as a communications operator in a secret CIA base.
Heath was arrested along with the Sergeant Major of the National Guard Darwin Urdaneta, Marcos Garcés, and Daeven Rodríguez, driver of the vehicle. The three Venezuelans were charged with the crimes of treason, terrorism, illicit arms trafficking and association.
Attorney General Tarek William Saab said the vehicle in which the detainees were transported seized an 84-millimeter AT4 grenade launcher, a 9-millimeter model UZI submachine gun, four rectangular pieces of suspected C4 explosive material and bundles of dollars.
The announcement of the attack on the Amuay refinery comes in the midst of a difficult situation facing the oil industry, burdened by falling production, financial problems and lack of investment, which led to the paralysis of a large part of the refining system and created a severe fuel shortage in Venezuela.