OREANDA-NEWS. Venezuelan state-owned PdV?s 940,000 b/d CRP refining complex has shut down following a power cut that started at 9:40am local time today.

Crude processing operations at the CRP, which includes the 635,000 b/d Amuay refinery and nearby 305,000 b/d Cardon refinery on the Paraguana peninsula, ceased abruptly due to the outage, PdV officials at the CRP tell Argus.

PdV immediately ordered the evacuation of both refineries, the CRP officials added.

PdV said it has initiated safe restart protocols at the refineries as power supply to the area is slowly restored.

"It's unclear at this time whether any crude processing plants were damaged by the blackout and they cannot be restarted without prior inspections," a CRP official said.

The catalytic crackers, flexicoker and other key units shut down immediately when the power outage occurred, the CRP official added.

PdV is investigating what caused the blackout.

State owned utility Corpoelec declined to comment.

Local gasoline and diesel supplies are guaranteed, and programmed exports will not be disrupted, PdV said.

Today's blackout at the CRP is the second major outage this year at the refining complex that accounts for almost three quarters of PdV's local downstream nameplate capacity of 1.3mn b/d.

A major olefins explosion at the Amuay refinery in August 2012 killed more than 40 people.