Citgo Jones Act tanker returning from abroad
Houston, 7 December (Argus) — US independent refiner Citgo is employing a Jones Act-compliant tanker, normally reserved to move between domestic ports, on an apparent refined products delivery journey from Venezuela and neighboring islands.
The 2017-delivered Palmetto State, under charter from Kinder Morgan affiliate American Petroleum Tankers, is estimated to return to Lake Charles, Louisiana, this weekend, according to its vessel transponder. The 330,000 bl clean tanker, which had been making more typical runs to transport fuel to Florida, last month stopped at Aruba and Curacao off the Venezuelan coast and the Venezuelan port of Catia La Mar.
Citgo, a unit of Venezuelan state-owned oil company PdV, has a 425,000 b/d refinery at Lake Charles. Catia La Mar hosts a products import terminal serving the capital Caracas.
Citgo said it could not comment on matters related to its parent company.
The vessel movements underscore Venezuela's growing difficulty doing business because of its ongoing economic crisis and credit issues, along with US sanctions. The Futpv oil union in Venezuela said PdV's vital 940,000 b/d CRP refining complex is running at 13pc utilization. Crude production has been in a steady, years-long decline, with most of the output going to service debt obligations to China and Russia.