(Reuters) – Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA will use a terminal owned by U.S. firm NuStar Energy on the island of Saint Eustatius to store crude and load very large crude carriers (VLCCs) going to Asia, after deciding it will no longer rent a facility in the Bahamas, a PDVSA executive said on Friday.
PDVSA has been using the Saint Eustatius terminal in the Caribbean since March as a center to store and mix its crudes and produce exportable blends, the Venezuelan oil company confirmed after Reuters reported it this week.
The company already started receiving crude tankers at the facility going out from Venezuelan ports.
“We plan to build a new terminal in Araya (at Venezuela’s Eastern coast) but meanwhile we are renting some storage centers in Aruba and Saint Eustatius and using our own facilities in Bonaire and Curacao,” PDVSA’s refining vice president, Asdrubal Chavez, told journalists.
“We used the Bahamas before, but from Saint Eustatius to Asia the trip is shorter, so we are saving time and money after negotiating with NuStar,” he added.
After selling several facilities in the Caribbean to collect cash in recent years and trying to overcome fires and accidents that affected its domestic refining and storage network in 2012, PDVSA has signed new leasing contracts to use private facilities.
BORCO terminal in the Bahamas, which was owned by PDVSA until 2007 when it sold it, was later rented by the state-run company as an additional facility to its domestic network.
Asia, which last year became Venezuela’s main oil export destination, is receiving an increasing volume of PDVSA’s crude and products and most shipments are received in VLCCs loaded at the Venezuelan Eastern coast, as well as the Caribbean.
Last year PDVSA started renting 4 million barrels of storage capacity in the island of Aruba in a facility owned by U.S. refining company Valero Energy.