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Gasoline shortages hit western Venezuela

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Staff Writer | November 6, 2018
Drivers reported staggering queues to fill their tanks in Venezuela’s western states over the weekend, as existing gasoline shortages worsened, impacting at least half of Venezuela’s 24 regions.
Venezuela gas station
LatAm   Public transport and commercial distribution networks have also been affected
In some provinces, lines extended for over ten hours, with problems reported on social media in the western states of Falcon, Lara, Barinas, Aragua, Carabobo, Cojedes, Merida, Tachira, Zulia, Guarico, Apure and Portuguesa, metropolitan Caracas and Miranda State, and Anzoategui State in the east. Public transport and commercial distribution networks have also been affected.

Government spokespeople blamed the situation ─ which in some states such as Barinas and Merida has persisted with fluctuating severity for nearly three weeks ─ on supply problems of imported catalysts used in the Paraguana oil refinery complex.

“The fuel distribution problem across the country, which has caused long queues in service stations, is due to the lack of an imported catalyst which prevented the docking of an [oil] tanker in El Palito refinery,” explained Jesus Santander, secretary-general of the state government in Carabobo State Friday. Venezuela has been importing gasoline for many years due to the technical difficulties and steep costs associated with refining its extra heavy crude petroleum, which fails to meet national demand.

Santander stressed that authorities are taking measures to resolve the situation which they do not expect to persist and urged the population to maintain calm.

“A tanker arrived a few days ago… we know that there was a collapse and there are still queues because people believe that the situation will occur again, but it was a specific case which has been solved,” he continued.