Chavez backs energy minister over refinery blast - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Chavez backs energy minister over refinery blast

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he won't fire his energy minister over an explosion that killed at least 42 people in the country's worst-ever refinery disaster.

   Chavez says he'll pick Rafael Ramirez again to head the key ministry and the state-run oil company PDVSA if he wins another term in the Oct. 7 presidential election.

   The cause of the blast is under investigation, but some experts have said that insufficient maintenance has probably made such disasters likelier in Venezuela, which has the largest oil reserves in the world.

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