Venezuela to support reconstruction of Cuban port damaged by oil fire

FILE PHOTO: A firefighter works on the zone where fuel storage tanks exploded near Cuba's supertanker port in Matanzas, Cuba, August 9, 2022. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

CARACAS - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday that Venezuela would support Cuba in the reconstruction of its only supertanker port in Matanzas, which was partially destroyed by a fire after lightning struck one of the its crude tanks.

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

Maduro directed Venezuela's oil minister and the president of state-run PDVSA to get in touch with the corresponding Cuban authorities "to begin the design of the reconstruction of the supertanker yard," he said in a speech honoring the Venezuelan firefighters sent to combat the blaze.

Mexico also sent personnel to put out the fire.

"We are going to design where it will be built, where the loading yard will be and begin the construction," Maduro said.

Venezuela, which is Cuba's main source of imported crude oil and fuels, shipped about 57,000 barrels per day (bpd) to the island in the first seven months of this year, in line with 2021 volumes.

(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Writing by Kylie Madry; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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