Italian-based multinational oil company ENI has announced that they have received a green light from the United States’ authorities to offload crude oil from the Nabarima FSO, without breaking the international sanctions regime, according to a report on the energynow.tt website.
The report said the ENI will now be able to repair the vessel after approval was received from the US authorities on Thursday (October 29). The company, however, is now awaiting the approval of PDVSA before proceeding with the operation.
The report noted that ENI are joint venture partners with Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA in the PetroSucre project. Prior to the international sanctions, PetroSucre produced oil from the Corocoro field in shallow waters in the Gulf of Paria, and this oil was piped to the Nabarima FSO for storage and subsequently, offtake to crude oil tankers for export. With the imposition of sanctions, the vessel has been filled with crude oil which has not been offloaded.
Over the past two months, there has been intense concern about the condition of the Nabarima and the risk the vessel poses to the environment if the oil should spill into the Gulf of Paria.
A Trinidad & Tobago expert delegation visited the Nabarima on October 20 to inspect the condition of the FSO vessel. In a news conference following the visit, Energy Minister Franklin Khan reported that PDVSA had embarked on an exercise to remove crude oil from the vessel. While Khan said the vessel was generally in a stable condition, he expressed concerns about the length of time that the offloading procedure would take and the additional risk that this entailed.
ENI had previously announced that they were standing-by to conduct the ship to ship transfer using “state-of-the-art solutions” once they received the confirmation from the US authorities that this would be in keeping with the international sanctions regime.
The report said ENI has also confirmed that a crude tanker, the Delta Captain, which is currently in the Caribbean Sea, had been chartered by ENI to serve its “credit recovery plan agreed with PDVSA”. ENI has reported, however, that over the past two months the vessel has never entered Venezuelan waters and is currently in international waters.