(Reuters, 20.Mar.2020) — Curacao state-owned oil refinery Refineria di Korsou (RdK) on Friday seized an oil storage terminal on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire over a payment dispute with Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA oil firm, a RdK official said.
Curacao will seek Dutch court approvals to sell Bonaire Petroleum Corp (BOPEC), which is owned by PDVSA, and its 10-million barrel storage terminal if no payments are received, said Marcelino de Lannoy, managing director of RdK.
De Lannoy, who disclosed the seizure in a video statement, did not detail the amount of money PDVSA owed RdK and could not immediately be reached for further comment. Neither PDVSA nor BOPEC General Manager Reginald Pinto responded to requests for comment.
PDVSA and the Venezuelan government have missed billions of dollars in payments to creditors in recent years as the once-prosperous OPEC nation’s economy unraveled, putting many of its overseas assets at risk of seizure.
U.S. oil company ConocoPhillips in 2018 obtained a court order freezing PDVSA’s inventories in Bonaire and other Caribbean islands to try to collect on a $2 billion arbitration award, though the order was later lifted.
In the video statement addressed to BOPEC workers, de Lannoy said RdK will take their interests into account “as long as this is possible.”
“RdK hopes that with this PDVSA will comply with its duties,” de Lannoy said. “If this is not the case, there is no alternative left for RdK to use its right to sell the installations in a public auction.”
Last year, RdK ended PDVSA’s contract to operate its 335,000 barrel-per-day Isla refinery on Curacao.
Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Additional reporting and writing by Luc Cohen editing by Diane Craft and Marguerita Choy