There is "no need to hurry" to restart the Amuay oil refinery in Venezuela because of ample storage capacity, the country's energy minister said.
At least 48 people were killed and dozens more were injured last Friday when an explosion ignited two gas storage tanks at the Amuay refinery, the largest in Venezuela. The accident was one of the deadliest in the industry and forced the shutdown of a facility capable of processing 645,000 barrels of oil per day.
Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said the government was conducting a comprehensive investigation at the refinery before making a restart attempt.
"We're carrying out a cooling process of all areas that suffered intense heat generated by the fire," he was quoted by Bloomberg News as saying. "Because we are dispatching, because we have sufficient storage, because we have all our plants in perfect shape, we have no need to hurry to reactivate an operation."
State-owned energy company Petroleos de Venezuela has around 10 days of inventory on hand and other refineries in the country are producing around 735,000 barrels of fuel per day, he said.
Venezuela is a key supplier to U.S. energy markets. Oil and gasoline prices soared in the United States in part because of refinery issues and Hurricane Isaac.