MATANZAS.– Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, examined the program underway here to repair storage tanks for fuel, and discussed the organization of distribution, which he described as fundamental to the national economy.
This is a prioritized project, he said, since we must continue expanding capacity to sustain other sectors and support future development.
At the Fuel Distribution Enterprise, located in the city’s industrial zone on the northern shore of Matanzas Bay, Díaz-Canel received a detailed report on the goals of the company in charge of distributing different types of hydrocarbon fuel via sea, pipelines, and tanker truck, both to clients in the province and around the country.
Lidia Rodríguez Suárez, company director, explained that the distributor sells 80% of the fuel consumed in the country, including aviation gasoline delivered to all the nation’s airports, and operates five docks on the bay to handle imports, exports, and domestic maritime deliveries.
She stated that over the last few years the volume of fuel sold had remained fairly stable, but rose 34% in 2017, and that sales are brisk this year.
Rodríguez noted that a strategy is being implemented to increase storage capacity beyond the 44 tanks currently available, the largest number in one location within the country, with others to be added.
She explained that the deep water docks, on which construction began in 1990, were raised on steel pilings with anti-corrosive glazing, and receive ships up to 150,000 tons, adding that the docks are occupied on average 52% of the time.
In her detailed report, Rodríguez noted that the company also has terminals for truck and railway distribution; a super-tanker base for crude oil and supplies; and a liquefied petroleum gas plant.
During a brief meeting, the director described the company’s financial performance, reporting that most indicators are positive. She did note instability in the workforce, especially in key positions, as problematic. In this regard, the President suggested that this is largely a reflection of dissatisfaction among workers, based on low wages, poor quality of food services, and other inadequate working conditions.
He emphasized the importance of addressing these issues, since work at the facility is hard, very demanding, and insisted that even though it may not be possible to resolve the salary question immediately, attending to the needs of employees is key.
Díaz-Canel insisted that the company’s program is a strategic one, and workers must be conscious of this, aware of the priority, and that an effort must be made to attend to their concerns.
In terms of the storage tank repair program, being carried out by the Oil Industry Maintenance Enterprise (Empet), which has fallen behind in its annual plan, the President stressed the importance of conducting careful diagnostics and planning accordingly, to avoid last-minute marathons and their negative consequences.
He also emphasized to the need to reinforce supervision to eliminate misuse and theft of fuel, insisting that the country cannot continue allowing these resources to be stolen. This is demoralizing, he said, indicative of incompetence on the part of state entities. He noted that recent estimates show that the situation has not been turned around.
After the meeting, Díaz-Canel and provincial authorities from the Party and government, as well as Raúl García Barreiro, minister of Energy and Mining, inspected two 50,000 cubic meter tanks currently being repaired.
The visit included an indispensable exchange with staff, allowing Díaz-Canel to confirm that the work here is not easy. The always amiable President recognized the audacity of operators and asked about working conditions, taking note of the little things that interfere with their efforts.