Development & Aid, Environment, Tierramerica - Ecobrief

Ecobreves – VENEZUELA: Oil Upgrading Plant Blamed for Health Problems

CARACAS, Aug 29 2011 (IPS) - Soot from the coke and sulfur produced as byproducts of crude oil upgrading at the Jose industrial complex, in the eastern Venezuelan municipality of Peñalver, is polluting the air and affecting the health of humans, animals and plants in the surrounding areas, say local NGOs. “We are demanding studies of air quality and the health of the thousands of people who live near Jose and have reported increases in cases of asthma and gastric diseases, the death of plants and poultry, and foul odors,” Pedro Cavana, president of the Peñalver Ecological Foundation, told Tierramérica.

For its part, Gente del Petróleo, an organization of former employees of the Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA, have called on Chevron (U.S.), Statoil (Norway) and BP (U.K.) – which hold minority stakes in the upgrading facilities – to demand that PDVSA adopt adequate procedures for handling the byproducts. PDVSA has already announced that it will begin the removal of the coke and sulfur stored at the Jose complex within the next four months.

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