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Six tankers carrying oil products have been docked for between a month and a week at Venezuela’s largest refining complex, Paraguana Refining Center (CRP), waiting for cash-strapped state firm PDVSA to pay before they discharge, Platts reported on Tuesday, citing a technical report.
The CRP complex in northwestern Venezuela consists of the 645,000-bpd Amuay refinery and the 310,000-bpd Cardon refinery. Two tankers are waiting for PDVSA payment at the Cardon marine terminal, and four are docked at the Amuay terminal. All six tankers, carrying hundreds of thousands of various oil products each, are awaiting payments from PDVSA before they can unload. The first of those tankers arrived at Venezuela’s shores on July 9, and the last on July 29, according to Platts.
Following operational setbacks and huge financial problems, as well as years of underinvestment in refineries, PDVSA now has to source oil products on the international market, while its refineries have been operating at more than half of their capacity
According to a refinery report seen by Platts on Monday, the Paraguana Refining Center is operating at 41.9 percent of its capacity, with Amuay operating at 44 percent of capacity, and Cardon at 37 percent of capacity.
Last month the Paraguana complex was said to have been operating at 42 percent of its capacity.
But PDVSA is scrambling to pay for the oil products it has bought on international markets, as it is short on cash after the low oil prices, rampant inflation, street protests, and President Nicolas Maduro clinging to power en route to an authoritarian regime have plunged Venezuela into chaos.
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The state-held Venezuelan company and Venezuela itself are increasingly closer to the brink of default—Venezuela has US$5 billion in debt maturing before the year is out—both in sovereign bonds and in debt payments by PDVSA.
In addition, the Trump administration is considering additional sanctions on Venezuelan individuals close to the Maduro government, after having frozen Maduro’s assets in response to last weekend’s vote that called for a Constituent Assembly—a parliament that has the powers to amend the country’s constitution.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.