The vice-president of the Venezuelan state oil company has said a huge blaze at one of the country's largest oil refineries over the weekend was extinguished without any injuries.

PDVSA's Asdrubal Chavez said lightning sparked the fire at a storage tank of the Puerto La Cruz refinery, sending large plumes of black smoke into the sky and leading to the evacuation of the surrounding area.

Watch the fire unfold here:

An explosion at the country's largest refinery killed 55 people last year but fortunately the fire on Sunday [11 Aug] was contained to avoid any injuries or disruption in production schedules.

Mr Chavez added: "Soon after a storage tank was reportedly hit by lightning at 15:15 [19:45GMT], authorities ordered the evacuation of residents within 1km (half a mile) of the plant on the Caribbean coast as a precaution."

Large thunderstorms are currently drenching the country and many residents were seen abandoning the area and posted pictures of black smoke billowing from the refinery on social media websites. After teams on the ground fought the fire for more than two hours, President Nicolas Maduro wrote on Twitter that the fire had been "controlled". 

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and the Puerto La Cruz refinery can produce nearly 200,000 barrels of oil a day.