Publicado: Sáb, Junio 09, 2018
Financiera | Por Marilu Caballero

PDVSA Raises Prospect of Force Majeure on Oil Exports

PDVSA Raises Prospect of Force Majeure on Oil Exports

Venezuela is engulfed in a severe political crisis and economic meltdown, with oil production declining and the sector in chaos amid corruption, a brain-drain, and U.S. financial sanctions making shipments and transactions ever more difficult.

The tanker Sonangol Kalandula, bound for a Thailand company's refinery in Kemaman, Malaysia, was loaded this week with Venezuelan heavy crude using a ship-to-ship (STS) transfer, the first test of how PDVSA expects to ease congestion at its ports.

"I have serious proof of US diplomatic staff in this country trying to bribe their way into key positions of the petroleum industry, to control strategic information and influence key process there", Maduro told a meeting of oil workers on Tuesday citing unclassified US State Department and CIA documents, TeleSur reported.

Svilen Petrov is 31 years old marketing manager and co-Chief Editor of Maritime Herald.

If customers continue rejecting the ship-to-ship proposal, PDVSA could be forced to declare force majeure over shipments going out from Jose and the CRP, the sources said.

Venezuelan ports - facing lack of spare parts, limited operation hours and a dwindling workforce - have struggled to handle the increasing number of tankers, leaving customers with growing delays and unfulfilled supply contracts.

In April, the company shipped 1.49 million bpd of crude and fuels to its customers - 665,000 bpd below the 2.15 million bpd contracted, the documents show.

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The delivery method entails specialized equipment and training and higher costs for ship owners and customers.

The price of Venezuela's Merey crude, the main grade exported from Jose port, rose to $60.24 a barrel in April.

The vessel, which has not yet set sail, had been waiting since February to load, according to Thomson Reuters vessel tracking data. The nation's crude exports in the first five months of 2018 were 27 percent lower than in the same period of 2017.

But the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had doubts over whether PDVSA could deliver on time and who would be given priority. "The question is who will take responsibility for that", said Robert Campbell, head of oil products markets at consultancy Energy Aspects.

Insurance coverage for tankers and cargoes would also have to be changed to include the STS operation if customers accept the option, Campbell said.

Crude spills affecting the waters surrounding several of PDVSA's ports at Venezuela's western coast is another risk some customers see as an obstacle for the transfers.

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