Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA and Eni are looking at options to safely offload crude from a floating storage facility on Venezuela’s eastern coast that has remained idle for over a year due to U.S. sanctions, according to sources close to the discussions and a statement from the Italian oil company.

About 1.3 million barrels of Corocoro crude stored at the FSO (floating storage and offloading facility) have remained stuck in the vessel, which has been left without operating crew.

The companies suspended output at their joint venture Petrosucre shortly after Washington imposed sanctions on PDVSA in January 2019, depriving the partnership of its main crude buyer, PDVSA’s U.S.-based refining subsidiary Citgo Petroleum.

In July, Petrosucre allowed a technician to board the FSO and correct an 8% lean that was creating the risk of a spill. But other problems followed, including a sea water leak affecting its engine room that could not be fixed as the facility’s bilge pumps were out of service, the sources added.

The issues are creating pressure for both companies to find a solution, even if the stored crude is not exported. A local contractor, Consemar Group, was recently hired to do an inspection, two sources said.

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7th September 2020