Anzoátegui’s unnatural wonder

It has been a rough time for PDVSA in Anzoátegui. Last week’s oil spill in the refinery of Jose, near Puerto La Cruz, is the latest in a series of similar events since 2011. While the Environment Minister has called some of these cases sabotage, there’s one case of PDVSA mismanagement in plain sight: the coke mountains of Jose.

The giant mount of petroleum coke is made up of the leftovers form the heavy-oil upgrading process. 50 meters high and 200 meters long, the mountains can be seen from the road between Barcelona and Puerto Píritu.

It’s more than just an eye-sore, though: the human and enviromental health effects of Coke Mountain are being questioned by experts, opposition deputies and even Chavista followers.

Petroleum coke can be used as fuel or to create anodes for the metallurgical industry. It can be sold in the commodities market. Matter of fact, Venezuela is already selling pet coke to other countries. Leaving those mountains intact is not only a problem for the inhabitants of the region but a wasted opportunity for our economy.

Getting rid of those mountains can take years, but as recent events can confirm, handling emergencies is not exactly PDVSA’s strong suit. Obviously, the biggest priority for its president/Oil Minister is the upcoming presidential campaign.

7 thoughts on “Anzoátegui’s unnatural wonder

  1. Venezuela has the most beautiful mountains. These pet coke mountains are communist environmental disasters that are controlled because that would cost too much.

    Maybe they are covering farm land?

    Like

  2. Thanks, Gustavo, for bringing in these environment-minded posts to this blog.
    Venezuelans have always been lethal against nature, but environment destruction is worse than ever now.

    Like

  3. The mountain is there because the conveyor belts to carry coke to ships have been repeatedly damaged in recent years for lack of maintenance and stupid procurement techniques. The European coke industry has been upset about the loss of this fuel for ages, and Venezuela has lost money by not exporting as much as PDVSA could.

    Like

    • And to add insult to injury, there have been several interested parties making proposals to PDVSA to build facilities (including new/improved conveyor belts) and get paid in-kind with coke. And of course, PDVSA hasn’t replied to any of those.

      Like

    • The mountain is there because the conveyor belts to carry coke to ships have been repeatedly damaged in recent years for lack of maintenance and stupid procurement techniques.
      Lack of maintenance? That appears to be the mission statement of PDVSA under Chavista control.

      Like

Comments are closed.