Renewed call to exit Petrobras deal after explosion

11 08 2011

A Gisborne District Councillor has renewed his call for the government to suspend the East Coast exploration permit for Brazilian energy company Petrobras following a lethal explosion at a Petrobras refinery.

Manu Caddie says the idea that Petrobras has had a clean safety record for ten years is a complete myth.

Mr Caddie says the death of this Petrobras employee and disfigurement of his colleague follow a similar explosion at a Petrobras refinery in Argentina three years ago, a major incident in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year as the company prepared to start the first new extraction since the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the assassination two years ago of a fisherman and ongoing intimidation of his colleagues who have been protesting against a Petrobras pipeline in Guanabara Bay, Brazil.

“This company is not a model corporate citizen and the Minister of Energy and Resources should not be allowing Petrobras to operate in New Zealand waters” says Mr Caddie.

Government officials yesterday ordered Petrobras to close down the refinery in Argentina after an explosion at the plant killed a 44 year old worker and left another 47 year old in hospital with severe burns to 15% of his body.

The refinery, located in the southern port city of Bahía Blanca, has a capacity of 31,000 barrels per day. The blast happened in a resting area when workers turned on the lights after finishing their shift.

The plant accounts for about five percent of Argentina’s total refining capacity of 627,000 BPD. The plant needs two days to gradually shut down.

Mr Caddie says the statement issued by Petrobras assuring investors that refining operations had not been affected by the explosion was another example of how little regard the company has for people over profit. The claim also seemed to be at odds with the government official statement that said the plant had to be closed until the incident was fully investigated.

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One response

13 08 2011
Daniel

If throughout history, all companies who ever had an accident would be banished from continuing their operations, we would probably still be living in the pre-industrial age. Safety is of paramount importance of course, and punishment for disregard of safety concerns must always be enforced. But permanently banning operations is not the solution to safety problems.

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