State-backed Venezuelan oil and gas concern PDVSA is in dire trouble. Having skirted close to bankruptcy last year, Reuters is now reporting that more than 4m barrels of Venezuelan crude oil and fuels are stuck in tankers in the Caribbean because PDVSA cannot afford to pay for cleaning dirty tankers and port inspections. The Reuters report quotes internal company reports as well as citing tanker tracking data.
A total of 12 tankers – a mix of crude, product and LPG ships – are anchored in Venezuelan and Caribbean waters waiting to be cleaned while another 11 ships have been detained for not paying bills.
Ratings agency Fitch has recently reported that PDVSA has $13bn in high-yield debt and could default.
PDVSA – like the national economy – has been hit hard by the collapsed oil price. The International Monetary Fund’s estimate of a 10% contraction in GDP for 2016 would make Venezuela the world’s worst economy last year. Private economists put the drop at as much as 15%.