Curacao says final proposals for oil refinery lease coming next month

Curacao expects to receive final proposals from companies interested in leasing its 330,000 bpd oil refinery by the end of February, the latest attempt to restart the plant after Venezuela's PDVSA ceased operations there in 2018.

A committee to find a company interested in operating the Caribbean facility late last year selected a short list of firms willing to move ahead with a proposal, Curacao's state-run Refineria di Korsou (RdK) said in a press release on Friday.

"These companies are currently conducting evaluations... Site visits at the refinery and the (neighboring) terminal located at Bullenbaai should also be expected to take place during the upcoming weeks," the statement said.

RdK did not disclose the names of companies interested.

In May 2021, the refinery said it had reached an agreement with CORC B.V. to operate the plant and the oil terminal, but the pact fell apart amid negotiations on fiscal terms.

Prior deals with industrial conglomerate Klesch Group and oil firm SPS Drilling E&P to operate the refinery and lease a portion of the 15-MM-bbl terminal respectively were also terminated over disagreements about terms and fees.

A payment dispute between PDVSA and U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips led to the plant being idled in 2018, and the Venezuelan company's long-term lease expired at the end of 2019. Attempts to resume operations have failed since.

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