PdV was ordered to restart oil supply to the Dutch Caribbean islands of Curacao and Bonaire
The decisions partially lift debt-related attachments levied by US company ConocoPhillips on PdV's assets, including crude and oil products stored at the PdV-operated 330,000 b/d Isla refinery and Bullen Bay terminal in Curacao, and the PdV-owned 10mn bl Bopec storage terminal in Bonaire.
Both court rulings were prompted by local concerns about the impact of the liens on fuel distribution and electricity generation on the islands, which rely on supply from PdV.
All revenue that PdV generates by selling oil products to the local fuel distributors and utilities will go into escrow or third party accounts, out of which ConocoPhillips would gradually be paid. The US company is seeking to collect a $2bn arbitral award for the 2007 expropriation of its Venezuelan heavy crude projects.
If PdV does not comply with the delivery obligation to Curacao, it will be subject to $1mn/day in penalties, up to a maximum of $100mn, payable to Curacao, according to the ruling obtained by Argus.
"If PDVSA doesn't deliver, Curacao can levy its ownattachments," an attorney close to the case told Argus.
In Bonaire, the penalty for failure to deliver is $250,000/day, up to a maximum of $10mn.
There was no immediate reaction to the court rulings from PdV.
In a statement to Argus, ConocoPhillips said: "We are pleased with the result, as this is consistent with the proposal made by ConocoPhillips to both local authorities, (Curacao fuel distributor) Curoil and the local courts. As we have stated all along, we will do everything we can to make sure that the people of the Dutch Caribbean are not adversely affected by this dispute."
In Curacao, the ruling should allow PdV to restart the refinery, which has been down since early April. RdK, the Curacao company that owns the refinery, is hoping PdV resumes refining in early June.