Cash-strapped PDVSA tankers stranded

Cash-strapped PDVSA tankers stranded

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%.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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