Fire rages at Cuba oil terminal; third tank collapses after spill -governor

Fire rages at Cuba oil terminal; third tank collapses after spill -governor

HAVANA, Aug 8 (Reuters) – A third crude tank stuck hearth and collapsed at Cuba’s primary oil terminal in Matanzas, the province’s governor mentioned on Monday, as an oil spill unfold flames from a 2d tank that stuck firetwo days previous within the island’s greatest oil business twist of fate in many years.

Huge columns of fireside rose into the sky and thick black smoke bellowed all day, darkening the sky as some distance away as Havana. Explosions rocked the world simply ahead of middle of the night as one tank collapsed and once more at midday as any other imploded.

One firefighter has died and 16 other folks had been lacking, all from Saturday’s explosion at the second one garage tank. A fourth tank used to be threatened, however had no longer stuck hearth. Cuba is determined by oil to generate a lot of its electrical energy.

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Cuba had made development combating off the raging flames right through the weekend after drawing on assist from Mexico and Venezuela, however past due on Sunday the hearth started spreading from the second one tank, which collapsed, mentioned Mario Sabines, governor of the Matanzas province, about 60 miles (130 km) from Havana.

Matanzas is Cuba’s greatest port for receiving crude oil and gas imports. Cuban heavy crude, in addition to gas oil and diesel saved in Matanzas, are principally used to generate electrical energy at the island.

Sabines mentioned flames unfold like an “Olympic torch” from one tank to the following, turning each and every right into a “caldron” encompassing the world. Tackling the location used to be “complicated” as 3 tanks had been lined with flames and billowing black smoke.

Cuban state-run tv has lined the unfolding crisis reside since Saturday and President Miguel Diaz-Canel has been a relentless presence there, highlighting the commercial and political significance of the location.

The Communist-run and closely U.S. sanctioned nation is all however bankrupt and blackouts and shortages of fuel and different commodities already had created a nerve-racking state of affairs with scattered native protests following final summer season’s ancient unrest in July.

At midday on Monday, government introduced the rustic’s maximum necessary energy plant, positioned not up to a mile from the hearth, have been close down because of low water force within the space.

The energy grid is dependent greater than 90% on native and imported gas. Jorge Pinon, director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Latin America and Caribbean Energy and Environment mentioned the hearth threatened each.

“The key questions now are where Cuban crude oil production will go to generate fuel for electrical use as it is only connected by pipeline to Matanzas,” Pinon mentioned, including the power has an put in capability of two.4 million barrels.

A tanker wearing Russian crude to Matanzas, recognized via Refinitiv Eikon tracking carrier, is not likely so that you could discharge subsequent week even supposing docks aren’t suffering from the hearth, as a result of imaginable harm to tanks, pipelines and valves, analysts mentioned.

Since Matanzas is the one terminal with capability to obtain massive vessels, Pinon mentioned, the tanker could be pressured to switch its shipment by way of ship-to-ship operations so the crude can also be subtle at the Cienfuegos or Havana refineries, “but it is not clear Cuba has the capacity to do that”.

Residents expressed concern that the disaster will aggravate as the most up to date months of the 12 months endure down.

“Oh my God, no lights and no gas, that is what this means,” Havana resident Pia Ferrer exclaimed in an upscale community of Havana.

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Reporting via Nelson Acosta and Marc Frank; Additional reporting via Marianna Parraga; Editing via David Gregorio and Marguerita Choy

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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