QUITO – A power failure caused the shutdown of Ecuador’s largest oil refinery, which is scheduled to resume operations on Sunday, state-run firm Petroecuador said.
The superintendent of the Esmeraldas refinery, Carlos Quinde, said the power cut completely paralyzed the facility’s operating units.
He was quoted in a Petroecuador press release Thursday as saying electricity was restored 20 minutes after the power loss and the company’s technicians immediately began the process of getting the refinery back online.
“The resumption of the Esmeraldas refinery’s operations is scheduled for Sunday, once the start-up procedures advance to the point of ensuring the plant’s total stability,” Quinde said.
But the superintendent said the shutdown will not affect normal fuel distribution for domestic consumption because sufficient reserves exist to meet demand.
Esmeraldas, located in the likenamed northwestern coastal city, is Ecuador’s leading oil refinery with a daily processing capacity of 110,000 barrels.
Ecuador also has two other refineries: La Libertad, on the country’s southwestern coast, and Amazonas, in the northeastern Amazon region.
Although Ecuador is an oil exporter, it is a net importer of gasoline and other fuels.
Ecuador, the smallest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, currently produces some 500,000 barrels per day of crude, its main export product, and relies on oil revenues to fund 25 percent of government spending. EFE