Uruguay's state-run oil company ANCAP Tuesday announced that as a result of a power cut at the La Teja refinery coupled with unionist protests, the company had been forced to activate an emergency import from Argentina of 60 lorries of cooking gas in addition to two shipments to secure supply.
The fluid is known in Uruguay as supergas - or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG: butane and propane).
ANCAP President Alejandro Stipanicic said Tuesday that in order to bring peace of mind, ANCAP's general management is making every effort to overcome this incident. The trucks will begin to arrive this week and the ships are due May 12, 13, 20, and 21. A total of 34 thousand cubic meters of the product will be imported.
Stipanicic admitted supergas was the most critical product in ANCAP's stock. ANCAP will in all likelihood also need to buy gasoline and diesel already refined from abroad.
The ANCAP head also explained the problem surfaced when last week's storm damaged the electricity supply to the La Teja refinery. ”That caused the operation of all the units of the refinery to be down, but production was restored in most of the units of the (industrial) process, Stipanicic pointed out.
However, in the catalytic cracking unit this was not possible and the start-up of the process had to be aborted, leading the unit to be disassembled to detect its failure, as established in the protocol.
In addition to that, ANCAP is holding a series of meetings to solve labor disputes with union groups. Unfortunately, the union delegation withdrew before the meeting and immediately took measures that affected the normal operation of the refinery's maintenance areas, Stipanicic said. For that reason, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday the maintenance area could not work in the cracking unit for its revision.
The refinery's failure to operate under normal conditions forces us to import fuel and, possibly, if the cracking is not fixed, we will decide to import diesel oil,” ANCAP authorities said.