The Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago said in an update on Friday that Italian-based multinational oil company, ENI has been given the green light from the United States to offload crude oil from the Nabarima FSO, without breaking the international sanctions regime. ENI will then be able to repair the vessel. Approval was received from the US authorities on Thursday 29th October 2020.
The Chamber said the company is now awaiting the approval of Venezuela state oil company PDVSA before proceeding with the operation.
ENI is a joint venture partner with PDVSA in the PetroSucre project, the Chamber said. 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 FSO 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 FSO, anchored in the Gulf of Paria, and the risk that the vessel poses to the environment if the crude oil should spill.
According to the Chamber, a Trinidad and Tobago expert delegation visited the Nabarima on Tuesday October 20 to inspect the condition of the FSO vessel. In a news conference following the visit, Senator Franklin Khan, the Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, reported that PDVSA had embarked on an exercise to remove crude oil from the vessel. While the Trinidadian Minister stated that the FSO 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 Chamber said ENI has also confirmed that a crude tanker, 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.