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PdV risks losing Bopec oil terminal

19 Dec 2017 21:05 GMT
PdV risks losing Bopec oil terminal

Caracas, 19 December (Argus) — Venezuelan state-owned PdV could be forced to shut down its Bopec oil terminal on Bonaire island within two months if it continues to neglect urgently needed repairs to bring the facility in compliance with international safety and environmental standards, according to the Dutch government.

The Netherlands infrastructure and environment ministry has officially notified Venezuela's government that PdV's 10mn bl terminal on the tiny Dutch-controlled island will be ordered to cease all operations in February 2018 unless a comprehensive maintenance plan is submitted to Bonaire's living environment and transport inspectorate (ILT) by 5 January 2018, a Dutch diplomat in Caracas told Argus.

The energy ministry confirmed receipt of the Dutch government's written warning that Bopec's shutdown is imminent, but otherwise declined to comment.

PdV is Bopec's sole owner, but cannot legally operate the terminal without a license issued by Bonaire's ILT and the Dutch infrastructure and environment ministry.

PdV uses Bopec for blended crude and fuel oil produced at its local refineries in Venezuela and its leased 325,000 b/d Isla refinery on Curacao for subsequent export to China. Bopec's main export client is state-owned PetroChina.

An executive with PdV's trade and supply division told Argus that "only 5 of 21 storage tanks" are currently operational at Bopec. The other 17 storage tanks are empty and awaiting repairs, including "several tanks out of service since a fire in September 2010 caused structural damages that were never repaired properly," the PdV executive added.

PdV currently is completing a final draft of a maintenance plan that includes major upgrades to Bopec's storage tanks and associated pipeline grids, its power supply infrastructure and piers. Bopec's maintenance plan is being drafted under the direct supervision of PdV's new trade and supply vice president Ysmel Serrano, the PdV executive added.

Bopec, located on the island's northwest coast, has two T-head jetties capable of handling tankers of 500,000t and 135,000t.

PdV considers Bopec a strategic component of its Caribbean refinery, crude blending and export network that include Curacao's Isla refinery and leased storage on St. Eustatius owned by NuStar energy. Curacao and St Eustatius are also controlled by the Netherlands.

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