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Motiva drops out of Curacao refinery talks



By Argus

Petroleumworld 02 05 2019

Saudi Arabia´s US refining company Motiva Enterprises has dropped out of talks to operate Curacao's 335,000 b/d Isla refinery that is currently run by Venezuela's state-owned PdV.

Curacao state-owned refinery company RdK said the "preferred bidder", previously confirmed by market participants as Motiva , decided not to continue the negotiations. RdK said it would continue the process of identifying a refining partner.

The collapse of the talks is a blow to Dutch-controlled Curacao, which has long been seeking a new operator to revive the century-old refinery that employs some 2,000 people on the island. RdK wanted Motiva to adopt an "early step-in" to restore the refinery operations even before PdV's long-term lease expires in December 2019, with an initial deal to be signed by the two parties at the end of last month.

The facility barely operated last year because of a lack of feedstock, maintenance and domestic utility services. Isla recently restarted operations but at a very low level.

The distressed Venezuelan company, which was recently placed under US oil sanctions, continues to use the Bullen Bay terminal on the island for export logistics and storage. Oil cargoes bought by PdV often pass through the deepwater port on their way to Cuba, a close Venezuelan ally.

The Houston office of Motiva has not commented on the talks.

Motiva, which is wholly owned by state-owned Saudi Refining, a unit of Saudi Aramco, owns the largest US refinery, the 630,000 b/d Port Arthur facility in Texas on the US Gulf coast.



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