Four oil tankers are waiting outside the Caribbean island of Curacao, unable to come in and discharge their loads totalling 2 million barrels of crude, because the purchaser, Venezuela’s state oil firm PDVSA, has not paid the supplier BP, according to Reuters.
Venezuela’s economy is in a tailspin and social unrest is growing as failed policies of the socialist government are compounded by the lengthy drop-off in the price of oil, the country’s most important industry.
Venezuela requires West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, such as what BP was providing, so it can dilute its own extra-heavy crudes.
Last December there was a backlog of tankers at several Venezuelan ports because of a dispute over prepayment contracts between PDVSA and oil suppliers.
In March this year PDVSA denied reports of very big backlogs of ships at its main port of Jose. Those delays were said to be caused by equipment problems.