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PDVSA may lose licence.

Venezuela's PDVSA could lose its licence to operate an oil storage terminal it owns on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire if it does not soon fulfill maintenance demands by regulators, a government spokeswoman said.

The terminal is a key part of PDVSA's logistics in the Caribbean, and its closing could hurt shipments to customers in Asia at a time when the Opec-member country is desperate for export revenue. Reeling from low oil prices, high inflation and a four-year-long recession, the country last month proposed to restructure its $60 billion in debt.

Cash-strapped PDVSA, which provides the bulk of Venezuela's export revenue, has struggled this year to retain contracts for storage tanks and docks in the Caribbean due to past payment delays and disagreements with US firms Buckeye Partners and NuStar Energy, which operate terminals in the Bahamas and St Eustatius.

In neighbouring Bonaire, where PDVSA owns the Bonaire Petroleum Corp (Bopec) terminal with a 10-million barrel storage capacity and deep water docks that can load large vessels, the firm recently received a warning from the Dutch government.

"We've given them an ultimatum to come up with a solid plan to ensure ... more secure and safe" operations by January 5, Danielle Rebel, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment in the Netherlands, said.

BOpec has a backlog of items needed to achieve international standards, she said. If it does not deliver the plan requested by Bonaire's Living Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT), it will have to start emptying the terminal in early February, she said, and cease operations. Its operating license could ultimately be withdrawn, she added.

PDVSA did not respond to a request for comment. The dispute between Bonaire and PDVSA started a year ago when a remediation plan for the terminal, including improvements to tanks, pipelines, piers and electrical equipment, was demanded by the government amid an accumulation of environmental liabilities, according to two sources close to PDVSA.

After an inspection in April, the company agreed to a $25-million investment plan with a first $5-million installment that has not been paid. PDVSA requested a portion of the money be delivered by its Isla refinery unit in Curacao, but it has not been received, one of the sources added.

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Publication:Oil & Gas News
Date:Dec 25, 2017
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