Venezuela started testing ship-to-ship oil transfers to ease the delays of crude deliveries from its main terminals. These delays and production declines could damage the state-run PDVSA’s supply contracts if they are not cleared as soon as possible.
Tankers waiting to load more than 24 million barrels of crude, are sitting off the country’s main oil port. The delay is so severe, that PDVSA told some customers it may declare force majeure. This means that it will temporarily halt contracts, if they do not accept new delivery terms.
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The delays have increased since May, when due to asset seizures PDVSA stopped using Caribbean facilities for export cargoes. But this situation began months ago as production declines accelerated.
In order to avoid breach contracts, PDVSA is trying for its customers to agree to load cargoes in ship-to-ship operations off the nation’s western coast to ease congestion at its Jose port.
Now, Venezuela has started the testing of such operations, as Reuters reported that the tanker Sonangol Kalandula was loaded with Venezuelan heavy crude using a ship-to-ship (STS) transfer, the first such operation to ease congestion at Venezuelan ports. The vessel had been waiting since February to load.