Curacao’s state refining company Refineria di Korsou (RdK) said on Tuesday a Dutch court granted it the right to sell shares in the owner of an oil terminal in neighboring Bonaire to collect on debts from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.
Any sale of shares in Propernyn – a PDVSA subsidiary in the Netherlands that owns Bonaire’s BOPEC terminal – would be the latest blow to cash-strapped PDVSA’s efforts to retain its overseas assets, increasingly targeted by creditors seeking repayment.
PDVSA operated RdK’s 335,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Isla refinery through late 2019. RdK alleges PDVSA failed to make nearly two years’ worth of monthly payments as stipulated under their contract, and in 2020 obtained a judgment in Curacao court ordering PDVSA to pay nearly $52 million.
RdK then attached PDVSA’s shares in Propernyn and sought permission from Dutch courts to sell them, which was challenged by PDVSA. The Hague Court of Appeal ruled on Sept. 14 that RdK could proceed with the sale, court records show.
RdK said in an email it would now estimate the value of the Propernyn shares and seek court clearance to hold an auction or conduct a public sale. It said it would honor other debt collectors that have also staked a claim to the shares.
RdK did not identify those creditors. Dutch court records show Houston-based oil company ConocoPhillips also has an enforcement attachment against PDVSA’s Propernyn shares.
Conoco holds a $2 billion arbitral award against PDVSA over the 2007 expropriation of its Venezuelan assets. It has collected $754 million.
At its peak, BOPEC could store 10 million barrels of oil and load large vessels from its deep water docks. But Bonaire last year ordered it to move oil to safer tanks due to environmental risks.
PDVSA did not respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York Additional reporting by Marianna Parraga and Gary McWilliams in Houston Editing by Marguerita Choy)