The Curaçao state-owned Refineria di Korsou (Curaçao Refinery, RdK), is to auction off oil and refined products stored at the Bullenbaai terminal by Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA, after the company failed to pay rent and interest for the storage.
The Curaçao Chronicle reports that the auction, of 864,793 barrels of crude, bitumen, fuel oil and other products, including components to make gasoline and naphtha, will take place on 11 June 2021, citing a government notice.
PDVSA leased the Curaçao Refinery from the Caribbean island’s government from 1985 to 2019, but pulled out following political turmoil in Venezuela. On 19 May 2021, the Common Justice Tribunal of Curaçao found that PDVSA owes US$100 million (€82 million) in interest and other costs relating to the delayed rental payments. PDVSA has filed demands against RdK claiming that the failures at the industrial services plant supplying electricity on site affected refinery operations.
RdK and various other creditors have embargoed PDVSA inventories. PdK has already sold 550,000 bbl of crude on an embargoed tanker. The Chronicle says that the latest auction is an important step towards an agreement with a new refinery operator. Negotiations with Guangdong Zhenrong Energy, the Klesch Group and Motiva have already failed. However, Marcellino de Lannoy, director of RdK, says that a tentative pre-agreement with Curaçao Oil Refinery Complex (CORC), a local group of entrepreneurs, has been signed, and will be presented to Curaçao’s cabinet for approval.
RdK has been in negotiations with CORC to operate the 335,000 bpd refinery, the industrial services plant and the 17.7 million bbl Bullenbaai terminal since January 2021. It is expected that investment will be required for modernisation. A source told the Chronicle that the main stumbling block is likely to be environmental issues.
Mercuria began to store oil at the Bullenbaai terminal in April 2021, following the signing of six-month lease with RdK in December 2020.