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Common sense tells us that proper maintenance of oil and gas processing facilities is key, in today's tight energy market, to ensure continuous, uninterrupted operation. Unscheduled downtime can translate into gasoline shortages and higher prices. Recent events bring this close to home.
This month, an electrical failure shut down the 77,000 b/d catalytic cracking unit at Petroleos de Venezuela SA's, Cardon refinery in Venezuela, resulting in lower gasoline exports to the US.
In April, a coking unit fire at Tosco Corp's Carson, Calif., refinery caused a spike in reformulated gasoline prices in California and Arizona.
Last year, a pipe leak caused an explosion at Pertamina's 240,000 b/d Balikpapan refinery in …