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Curacao refinery runs at minimum capacity


The 335,000-barrel-per-day Isla refinery operated by Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA in Curacao is working at minimum capacity while awaiting new crude shipments and as a tanker backlog in the country’s ports began to ease, four sources close to the facility told Reuters.

PDVSA’s operations this year have been mired by problems ranging from fast-declining crude production and poor refining due to a lack of equipment, to obstacles for exporting oil amid port congestion and financial sanctions.

Only a few units at the Curacao refinery have been operating during US producer ConocoPhillips’ COP.N moves to seize PDVSA’s inventories, cargoes and facilities following a $2 billion arbitration award by the International Chamber of Commerce in April.

No shipments of Venezuelan oil have been sent to Isla since late April and none were planned this month, according to PDVSA internal trade documents seen by Reuters.

But new crude cargoes could be received by Isla through ship-to-ship, or STS, transfers that would add to its existing inventories and be processed in the coming weeks, the sources said.

"PDVSA has promised the refinery that a new cargo of crude will be delivered. It’s an agreement the parties have already reached," one of the sources said.

PDVSA did not respond to a request for comment.

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