Aruba refinery aims to sign deal with Houston's Eagle LNG

Aruba's state-owned refining company Refineria di Aruba (RdA) plans to sign a deal with Houston-based Eagle LNG Partners to build an LNG import terminal on the site of its idled refinery as soon as next month, RdA's director told Reuters.

The terminal would allow Eagle to supply the Dutch Caribbean island's power company with natural gas, replacing high-sulfur fuel oil as the country's main fuel for generation, Reynold Arends said in a recent interview at RdA's headquarters in the town of San Nicolas at Aruba's southeastern tip.

Aruba has been seeking new partners for the 235,000 barrel-per-day refinery, which has been largely idled since 2012. Last year, U.S. refiner Citgo Petroleum Corp PDVSAC.UL - a unit of Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela PDVSA.UL - handed control of the site back to the government after abandoning an ambitious $1.1 billion refurbishment plan.

RdA is also in talks with a consortium led by San Jose-based Quanten Llc over a $3.5 billion plan to restart the refinery itself. Quanten's chief executive, Jeff Meyers, said in a recent interview alongside Arends the group would be ready to begin demolition in August and make the refinery fully operational within three years.

Gas imported by Eagle could also power the refinery, Arends said, and Eagle is considering using Aruba as a hub to export LNG elsewhere in the Caribbean region.

Eagle spokeswoman Linda Berndt said the company "continues to work with RdA and appreciates their support toward ultimate completion of the project."

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in San Nicolas, Aruba; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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