Published On: Tue, Mar 29th, 2016

Update: Oil tankers piling up at Bullenbaai and impaired PdV terminals

BullenbaaiWILLEMSTAD, CARACAS - Venezuelan state-owned oil company PdV’s maritime terminals in and around Venezuela and at Bullenbaai in Curaçao are experiencing more tanker congestion and longer turnaround times because of persistent breakdowns of crude and products handling infrastructure. At least 40 tankers currently are stacked up near PdV terminals including Jose, Amuay, Punta Cardón and El Palito, Bullenbaai in Curacao. Even Bonaire and Aruba are being confronted with this problem, The most daunting operational disruptions appear to be at the 1.5mn b/d Jose terminal in Anzoátegui state through which over 60pc of PdV’s crude exports are shipped.

Oil union officials at Jose say that the export terminal currently is operating below 40pc of capacity because of several damaged loading arms.

PdV denies the union´s assertions. All export terminals including the terminals owned or leased in Bonaire, Curaçao and Aruba are operating normally, the company said.

But the growing volume of light crude and products imports including naphtha used as diluent with Orinoco extra-heavy crude is prolonging tanker turnaround times at Jose and is having a cascade effect on operations at the Curacao and Bonaire terminals used as storage and blending facilities.

Turnaround times at Jose in Anzoátegui have increased to four days, according to the oil union. Turnaround times at Amuay and Punta Cardón also have increased because of infrastructure problems that the cash-strapped company apparently cannot afford to address.

Payment issues are another contributing factor in the chronic tanker congestion at PdV oil terminals. The company’s recent crude purchase tenders offered payment proposals that included cash up front, letters of credit and crude for blend swaps as alternative forms of payment, reflecting its cash flow and credit problems.

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