BP tanker berths at Curacao after 100-day wait

A tanker carrying over one million barrels of U.S. light crude finished discharging on Monday after a 100-day wait related to payment delays from Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA to oil major BP Plc, according to Thomson Reuters vessel tracking data.

PDVSA in March awarded BP a tender to import up to 8.2 million barrels of U.S. crude for the second quarter, but long payment delays have since April created bottlenecks to discharge about a dozen cargoes, boosting the costs for the oil.

The Suezmax tanker Sonangol Cabinda, which arrived at the Caribbean island of Curacao in mid-June from the U.S. port of Beaumont in Texas, was finally authorized to enter PDVSA’s Bullen Bay terminal on Sept. 23, the data showed.

PDVSA had a pending payment of $57.26 million for the cargo, which loaded in early June and became the 10th shipment of U.S. crude sent by BP to PDVSA as part of the tender, according to internal data seen by Reuters.

BP said it would not comment on commercial operations. PDVSA did not respond to requests for comment.

While pending invoices to suppliers pile up, many providers are asking PDVSA to be pre-pay before authorizing tankers to discharge. Other companies have agreed to receive Venezuelan crude or refined products in exchange.

Another three vessels carrying U.S. light crude sold by BP to PDVSA are still waiting to discharge around Curacao. The Aframax tankers Valfoglia, British Cormorant and Whistler Spirit arrived in the Caribbean from late August to early September, according to the data.

PDVSA said in an internal document in August that it had a budget shortfall of $152 million for these crude imports.

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