Curacao court authorizes Conoco to seize $636mn PDVSA assets

In a recent turn of events witnessed across the oil & gas industry, the U.S. oil major ConocoPhilips has seized about USD 636 million in assets belonging to PDVSA. Allegedly, the move has significantly disrupted fuel deliveries across the Caribbean, a majority of which are dependent on the Venezuela-based state-run oil company.

Sources reveal that the Curacao court has officially granted permission to Conoco to seize PDVSA assets on the Caribbean islands, in an effort to collect on a USD 2 billion arbitration award over the 2007 nationalization of the U.S. oil major’s assets under the late leader Hugo Chavez.

Curacao’s minister for economic development, Steven Martina, was reported stating that PDVSA products from the installations of the Isla refinery have been seized and there is no other way to retain them back. Martina further added that Curacao had planned to meet PDVSA and Conoco to discuss on the dispute that has driven Conoco to seize the assets, that in turn has created havoc on PDVSA’s export supply chain.

Sources familiar with the knowledge of the situation cite that PDVSA was planning to shut down the Isla refinery with a capacity of 335,000 barrels per day in Curacao amidst the threats received by Conoco to seize cargo ships sent to resupply the facility.

PDVSA and Conoco were not immediately available to comment on the matter.

Authentic reports reveal that the illegal dispute has also sent ripples of panic across Curacao – one among the four-constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with a dynamic tourism industry and deep water-ports for the oil industry. As per sources, the island is dependent majorly on the refinery, that bags around 10% of Curacao’s GDP & is a major source of employment on the island just off Venezuela.

PDVSA has suspended oil storage & shipping from its Caribbean facilities for the time being and is also looking out for ways to sidestep the court’s order to hand over assets.