Venezuela’s troubled state oil firm PDVSA has been blocked from using an oil storage facility over unpaid bills owed to the facility operator Nu Star Energy of San Antonio, Texas, according to Reuters.
Nu Star denied PDVSA use of the Statia facility on St Eustatius in the Caribbean over an overdue payment of $26m. The sum is the accumulation of numerous monthly fees.
The immediate effect is Nu Energy barring the loading of a cargo of Venezuelan oil to oil trader Trafigura.
PDVSA has for many months been bedevilled by reports of tardy and missed payments to various companies, despite it being the sole rights holder to Venezuela’s huge oilfields.
In the past year-and-a-half PDVSA has been forced to deny that apparent backlogs of vessels at terminals in the South American country and the nearby island of Curacao were due to payment disputes with oil suppliers.
At the time, PDVSA blamed technical and equipment problems in the ports.
Despite its vast oil resources PDVSA has, like the national economy, been reeling because of the slump in the price of oil.
Earlier this year it was revealed that Russian company Rosneft, one of PDVSA’s biggest clients, has given it at least $2bn in advance payments over the past year.
Last year a Venezuelan Congressional Investigations Commission was looking into alleged multibillion-dollar irregularities at PDVSA before it was stopped by a court injunction.
PDVSA has also suffered blows to the reputation of its product, with serous quality control issues being raised.
Houston-based multinational energy form Phillips 66, for example, cancelled at least eight shipments of Venezuelan crude in the first half of this year because of concerns over contaminants such as water, soil and other minerals.
Other refiners are demanding discounts from PDVSA because of the low quality.
A shortage of chemicals necessary in treating the crude is partly to blame.