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24 dead, dozens hurt in explosion at huge Venezuela oil refinery

Fire is seen after an explosion at the Amuay oil refinery in Punto Fijo, Venezuela, Aug. 25. A large gas explosion shook Venezuela's biggest refinery, killing 19 people before dawn on Saturday.  The blast was caused by a gas leak and damaged nearby homes in addition to the refinery complex.
Fire is seen after an explosion at the Amuay oil refinery in Punto Fijo, Venezuela, Aug. 25. A large gas explosion shook Venezuela's biggest refinery, killing 19 people before dawn on Saturday. The blast was caused by a gas leak and damaged nearby homes in addition to the refinery complex.Reuters

The refinery is run by PVDSA, the government-run oil company that has struggled with repeated refinery problems in recent years, affecting its production figures and ability to fulfill ambitious expansion plans.

Power faults, accidents and planned stoppages for maintenance have hit exports from South America's biggest crude producer and OPEC member.

-- Reported by NBC News staff and wire services

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