Explosion causes fire at Venezuelan oil refinery, at least 16 injured

An explosion Monday at an oil refinery in eastern Venezuela caused 16 injuries, the country's government-run news agency reported.

The explosion occurred at an alkylation unit in the Cardon refinery, the Bolivarian News Agency, or ABN, reported. The unit was shut down late last month after a fire.

The report didn't mention the cause of the explosion or the extent of damage. The blast victims were being treated at a hospital in nearby Maracaibo, it said.

State oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., which owns the refinery, refused to comment. Local fire and police officials also said they couldn't comment.

Union Radio, citing unnamed sources, reported earlier that the fire at the Cardon refinery occurred when a gasoline leak was ignited by a spark from nearby machinery.

The Cardon refinery produces about 305,000 barrels a day.

Cardon is part of the Paraguana refining complex in eastern Venezuela, which produces 940,000 barrels a day and is Venezuela's main source of gasoline exports, AP reported. V.A.

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