& Tobago

Very usefull links


News links




Dow Jones

Oil price



Views and News




Curacao's labor unions lobbies from PDVSA Isla refinery closure


Klesch Group Potential New Operator of PDVSA (pdv) operated Isla Refinery in Curacao.

By Patricia Garip / Argus

Petroleumworld 11 20 2019

Dutch-controlled Curacao is bracing for a shutdown of the Isla refinery at the end of December when Venezuelan state-owned PdV's operating lease expires.

The looming closure is sowing economic anxiety among Curacao government officials and refinery workers that PdV is leveraging to press its case for a lease extension on the refinery and strategic Bullen Bay terminal.

The refinery, which has a nameplate capacity of around 335,000 b/d but normally operates at around 220,000 b/d, is critical to the fragile local economy.

The refinery and deepwater terminal are part of PdV's once-bustling near-shore logistical network that is mostly dormant because of US financial and oil sanctions.

In recent weeks, the Venezuelan company restarted the refinery's thermal cracking unit to produce fuel oil for local consumption using 17.2°API Hamaca crude imported from Venezuela in October abroad the Liberian-flagged Suezmax Diamondway tanker. The partial refinery operations that began at the end of October were interrupted by an island-wide power outage in early November, but have since resumed, PdV's Isla unit said.

Curacao's government had been hoping for a smooth operational transition to Klesch Group, the German refiner and commodities trader that is negotiating a new lease with RdK, Curacao's refinery owner. But in an 11 November letter to the heads of the oil labor unions Apri and PWFC, RdK interim director Marcelino de Lannoy warned that a new operator would not be able to restart the refinery in January.

The letter obtained by Argus informs the workers that due diligence by Klesch is taking longer than expected, but RdK is making every effort to ensure an efficient transition.

Klesch has not responded to a request for comment. RdK confirmed that negotiations are still underway.

Union leaders visited Caracas early this month to meet with PdV chief executive and oil minister Manuel Quevedo to discuss the refinery operations, the latest outreach by Caracas to the island's labor groups.

Government officials worry that many refinery workers will abandon the island for jobs in Rotterdam, leaving the island bereft of the skills it will need for the plant to eventually restart.

Curacao's government has long sought to eject PdV for neglecting refinery maintenance and environmental clean-up. Island officials say the refinery has been mostly off line for years, and dismiss the recent partial restart as a campaign by PdV to curry favor with workers and heighten fears of a closure.

Even if the island's government sought to retain PdV on a temporary basis to keep the refinery running, it would need to request an extension of an existing US sanctions waiver. The Netherlands is part of the EU, which does not recognize Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.

PdV has operated the Shell-built refinery and Bullen Bay since the mid-1980s, utilizing the terminal in particular to transship cargoes for long-haul destinations. The company has already lost effective control over its US refining unit Citgo which is in the administrative hands of Venezuela's political opposition since early 2019

Story by Patricia Garip from Argus Media. / 11 19 2019


We invite you to join us as a sponsor.

Circulated Videos, Articles, Opinions and Reports which carry your name and brand are used to target Entrepreneurs through our site, promoting your organization’s services. The opportunity is to insert in our stories pages short attention-grabbing videos, or to publish your own feature stories.


Copyright© 1999-2019 Petroleumworld or respective author or news agency. All rights reserved.

We welcome the use of Petroleumworld™ (PW) stories by anyone provided it mentions as the source.

Other stories you have to get authorization by its authors. Internet web links to are appreciated.

Petroleumworld welcomes your feedback and comments, share your thoughts on this article, your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us
their views and comments about this article.

Write to

By using this link, you agree to allow PW
to publish your comments on our letters page.

Any question or suggestions,
please write to:

Best Viewed with IE 5.01+ Windows NT 4.0, '95,
'98,ME,XP, Vista, Windows 7,8,10 +/ 800x600 pixels

Twitter: @petroleumworld1



Editor & Publisher: Elio Ohep/
Contact Email:

CopyRight © 1999-2019, Paul Ohep F. - All Rights Reserved. Legal Information

PW in Top 100 Energy Sites

CopyRight©1999-2019, Petroleumworld   / Elio Ohep - All rights reserved

This site is a public free site and it contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of business, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have chosen to view the included information for research, information, and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission fromPetroleumworld or the copyright owner of the material.