(Updates with spokesman, evacuations, background)
WILLEMSTAD, April 9 A 320,000 barrels per day
oil refinery on Curacao, operated by Venezuela's state oil
company, went offline on Wednesday due to a power outage, a
Refinery spokesman Kenneth Geisjberta told local radio the
situation was serious because power supplier ACUALECTRA had
been unable to quickly resolve the problem, which occurred
early on Wednesday.
Residents living near the Isla refinery on the Caribbean
island close to Venezuela's coast said they saw
larger-than-usual plumes of black smoke rising from the
refinery, local radio reported.
Some offices in the vicinity were evacuated because of the
pall from the refinery, which is just outside Willemstad, the
capital, according to the radio.
Venezuela's state oil company, PDVSA, operates the
refinery, which residents have repeatedly said causes
environmental damage in the area.
PDVSA has suffered power outages and accidents regularly at
its refineries in Venezuela as well as at Isla in the past few
(Reporting by Irasi Jimenes; Writing by Saul Hudson; Editing
by Walter Bagley)