Cuban oil fire all but out, blackouts and gas lines lengthen



By Marc Frank

HAVANA, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Cubans have been left to endure six- to 18-hour blackouts, and search for ever-scarcer gasoline in the wake of a spectacular blaze that destroyed 40% of Cuba’s main fuel depot and shuttered its only supertanker port.

The fire began on Friday when lighting struck a storage tank, spreading to three others before being brought under control on Tuesday. By Thursday the flames were out, but oil residues remained dangerously hot.

The import dependent Caribbean Island nation was already reeling from the impact of tough U.S. sanctions, the pandemic’s impact on tourism and rising international prices for fuel, food and shipping.

Cuba has long relied on the 2.4-million-barrel Matanzas terminal, about 60 miles (130 km) from Havana, for most crude and heavy fuel imports and storage.

“We have to do a survey (and) see what is the availability of our refineries ... and with this the relationship of ports to refineries,” Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said at a planning meeting, parts of which were broadcast by state media late on Wednesday. “We have to be able to process the fuels that are entering the country in the shortest possible time,” he said.

The communist-run country imports 60% of the fuel it consumes.

Cubans were already suffering through chronic power outages, fuel, food and medicine shortages and lining up for hours to purchase basic goods.

The accident has aggravated the energy crisis due to an obsolete power grid and poor maintenance, said Jorge Pinon, director of the University of Texas at Austin's Latin America and Caribbean Energy and Environment.

"Now there is a lack of logistics to supply these plants, an extreme situation, a difficult situation for the Cuban people that unfortunately has no short-term solution," he said.

Just over a year ago, unrest swept the country and this year there have been scattered small protests, mainly over blackouts.

In the city of Camaguey, in central Cuba, retired nurse Aneida Gonzalez said she was now worried food would spoil in the fridge.

“Before the Matanzas accident, the blackouts were six to eight hours a day and now they are 12 hours to 18 hours a day, sometimes split into two parts,” she said in a telephone interview.

In Eastern Holguin province housewife Edilma Lezcano said by phone that daily power outages were now lasting 12 hours, and gasoline “very scarce, not just because there are no supplies, but no electricity to keep the service stations open.”

Since 2020 Cuban imports have fallen 40% and its gross domestic product by 10%. Inflation soared 77% last year and 28% so far in 2022, according to the government, though most independent analysts put price increases in the triple digits.

Havana, home to 20% of the country’s 11.2 million inhabitants, had been spared the worst of the energy crisis until this month, when rolling four-hour blackouts every three days began and diesel fuel vanished. Since the oil depot blaze power outages are more frequent, longer and less predictable.

"Now we are more affected ... We are going from blackout to blackout," 67-year-old Daniel Duarte said in central Havana.

Nearby, Raudel Machado, a young man, was waiting in line for gas.

"The queues are quite long and sometimes you have to go from station to station and when you find it you have to wait for hours," he said.
Reporting by Marc Frank; additional reporting by Nelson Acosta and Reuters television Editing by Marguerita Choy

Isenção de Responsabilidade: As entidades do XM Group proporcionam serviço de apenas-execução e acesso à nossa plataforma online de negociação, permitindo a visualização e/ou uso do conteúdo disponível no website ou através deste, o que não se destina a alterar ou a expandir o supracitado. Tal acesso e uso estão sempre sujeitos a: (i) Termos e Condições; (ii) Avisos de Risco; e (iii) Termos de Responsabilidade. Este, é desta forma, fornecido como informação generalizada. Particularmente, por favor esteja ciente que os conteúdos da nossa plataforma online de negociação não constituem solicitação ou oferta para iniciar qualquer transação nos mercados financeiros. Negociar em qualquer mercado financeiro envolve um nível de risco significativo de perda do capital.

Todo o material publicado na nossa plataforma de negociação online tem apenas objetivos educacionais/informativos e não contém — e não deve ser considerado conter — conselhos e recomendações financeiras, de negociação ou fiscalidade de investimentos, registo de preços de negociação, oferta e solicitação de transação em qualquer instrumento financeiro ou promoção financeira não solicitada direcionadas a si.

Qual conteúdo obtido por uma terceira parte, assim como o conteúdo preparado pela XM, tais como, opiniões, pesquisa, análises, preços, outra informação ou links para websites de terceiras partes contidos neste website são prestados "no estado em que se encontram", como um comentário de mercado generalizado e não constitui conselho de investimento. Na medida em que qualquer conteúdo é construído como pesquisa de investimento, deve considerar e aceitar que este não tem como objetivo e nem foi preparado de acordo com os requisitos legais concebidos para promover a independência da pesquisa de investimento, desta forma, deve ser considerado material de marketing sob as leis e regulações relevantes. Por favor, certifique-se que leu e compreendeu a nossa Notificação sobre Pesquisa de Investimento não-independente e o Aviso de Risco, relativos à informação supracitada, os quais podem ser acedidos aqui.

Usamos cookies para lhe dar a melhor experiência no nosso website. Ler mais ou alterar as configurações de cookies.

Aviso de risco: O seu capital está em risco. Os produtos alavancados podem não ser adequados para todos. Recomendamos que consulte a nossa Divulgação de Riscos.