From a distance, the scene is beautiful, a dark pool shimmering under the midday sun, reflecting billowing clouds. But when you close in on the dirt-packed trail leading toward a trio of storage tanks, a pungent odor makes it clear. It’s not pretty; it’s an oil spill.
In this one spot in the Orinoco Belt, a region in Venezuela named for the river that flows above the world’s largest deposits of crude, so many barrels have escaped from underground pipes that a 2,150-square-foot pit around the tanks is filled to the brim. The country is pockmarked with these messes, as Petroleos de Venezuela’s infrastructure rots after years of neglect, scant investment and corruption scandals under the regimes of the late Hugo Chavez and his successor as president, Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuela, an OPEC member dependent on oil sales for almost half the national budget, is pumping at the lowest levels since the 1940s.
The spills are conspicuous signs of what has gone so horribly wrong at once-mighty PDVSA. The state-owned company doesn’t publish statistics, but environmentalists, analysts and workers keep seemingly endless lists of examples of wayward crude—unleashed by busted valves, ripped gaskets, cracked pipes and on and on—that they say has polluted waterways and farmland and probably has seeped into aquifers.https://www.bloombergquint.com/business/...mess#gs.k5_Q9Jg