WILLEMSTAD Reuters - - A Curacao court has authorized
ConocoPhillips (COP.N) to seize about $636 million in assets
belonging to Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA due to the 2007 nationalization of the U.S. oil major’s projects in Venezuela.
The legal action was the latest in the Caribbean to enforce a $2
billion arbitration award by the International Chamber of
Commerce (ICC) over the nationalization.
The court decision, first reported by Caribbean media outlet
Antilliaans Dagblad on Saturday, says Curacao can attach “oil or
oil products on ships and on bank deposits.”
Conoco and PDVSA [PDVSA.UL] did not immediately respond to
requests for comment.
Conoco earlier this month moved to temporarily seize PDVSA’s
assets on Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and St. Eustatius. That threw
Venezuela’s oil export chain into a tailspin just as Venezuela’s
crude production has crumbled to a more than 30-year low due to underinvestment, theft, a brain drain and mismanagement.
Reuters reported on Friday that PDVSA was preparing to shut down
the 335,000 barrel-per-day Isla refinery it operates in Curacao
amid threats by Conoco to seize cargoes sent to resupply the
PDVSA is also seeking ways to sidestep legal orders to hand over
assets. The Venezuelan firm has transferred custody over the
fuel produced at the Isla refinery to the Curacao government,
the owner of the facility, according to two sources with
knowledge of the matter.
PDVSA transferred ownership of crude to be refined at Isla to
its U.S. unit, Citgo Petroleum, one of the sources said.
For the time being, PDVSA has suspended all oil storage and
shipping from its Caribbean facilities and concentrated most
shipping in its main crude terminal of Jose, which is suffering
from a backlog.