Venezuela: chronic of oil spills in the Maracaibo Lake , tragedy without mourners

Recently, regional parliamentarians reported spill of thousand 850 barrels of oil, the equivalent to almost 300 thousand liters per sinking of an oil rig in the Tia Juana’s dock, in the Simón Bolívar Municipality, Zulia state.

Subsequently, the executive office of west PDVSA triggered a Local Emergency Plan in the presence of oil spots from a leak of crude oil in the production line of the Tia Juana’s unit in the Maracaibo Lake.

According to the report of the company, the Unit Spill Prevention and Control (USPC) belonging to the Environment Management acted immediately transferring barriers of containment, performing the inspection lakeside, movilizing boats and a collection ship .

The response to this situation through an official statement shows us that, ” PDVSA makes the respective studies to determine the causes of the failure and prevent such events are repeated.”
Now, there is a reality that makes this issue manifests itself as “recurring.”

As on previous occasions denounced by Blue Environmentalists a NGO, the immient leaks in the production pipes due to corrosion that lie in the depths of the Lake , are constant and it is difficult to accurately determine the magnitude of these discharges in many cases become spills.

The Maracaibo Lake is still paying more than the goodness of having oil in the deep subsoil. In it, multinationals tested first in the world drilling techniques in water, which led, as expected, to an unimaginable number of accidents and their spills.

These corporations covered the lakebed with more than 24,000 miles of pipelines and the lake basin with nearly half a million miles kilometers of the same . At the time, it reached to have more than 450 flow stations to store and pump the oil and a fleet of tankers, oil rigs, boats, tug boats and all types of complementary boats for these activities, becoming the principal agents of contamination.

The lake has about 5,000.00 wells between active and inactive . If we give to each well an average of 600 meters of pipe, and according to experts, technicians in the field, the useful life of each pipe if well maintained would be 5 years.

We perfectly understand that the current leaks are a reflection of the deterioration of these pipelines. On the one hand, because of lack of maintenance and another for the corrosive of the aquatic environment.
According to figures collected from the Ministry of Environment in various newspapers in the region, in the Lake occur about 15 spills per month at different scales. This means that, in the last 10 years, the lake has suffered poisoning of nearly 1,800 spills approximately.

This gives us an idea of the ​​heritage and ecological damage that has caused the oil drilling in the Maracaibo Lake for almost 100 years. Perhaps, the Maracaibo and Zulia citizens in general do not feel the environmental impact that this entails. But there is another reality. The direct victims and perhaps unprecedented who suffer and even dying as a result of pollution. The fauna and flora that suffer with no mourners.

Gustavo Carrasquel | ANCA24
Translated by Mariana Jaramillo Wong | ANCA24

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