Canute James, Argus
Energiesnet.com 02 23 2023
Curacao’s state holding company RdK has terminated negotiations with US-Brazilian consortium CPR to restart the Dutch island’s 335,000 b/d Isla refinery.
“CPR is no longer considered a preferred bidder in this process and no longer enjoys that exclusivity,” RdK said.
RdK has also cancelled negotiations for CPR to purchase Curacao’s 17.7mn bl Bullen Bay products terminal, although the consortium’s lease of the tanks “has been prolonged and will continue as agreed.”
The collapse of the negotiations to reopen the century-old refinery follows questions by Netherlands and island authorities over the credibility of documentation produced by one member of the consortium to support CPR’s financial ability to restart and operate the refinery.
The forgeries were confirmed by Dutch state forensic investigator NFI and Curacao’s central bank, but the party that submitted the documents has not been named.
The documents included what appeared to be a “comfort letter” from a London-based international bank saying one investor had $5.5bn to support the refinery project. The bank has denied it provided the letter.
RdK “will inform regarding its next steps towards reactivating the refinery,” it said, without indicating the process and schedule for seeking new investors.
Venezuelan state oil company PdV operated Isla under a long-term lease that expired in December 2019.
CPR was founded by Venezuelan Luis Giusti, a former president of PdV, but who has since left the consortium, according to company records.
But CPR is urging RdK to continue the talks on restarting Isla, saying the forged documents were presented by a former partner with which it was no longer in contact.
“Several other parties are in talks who would like to invest, and our lawyers are in the process of testing their reliability,” CPR chief executive Raul Socorra said.
RdK named CPR as the preferred bidder for the refinery and started negotiations in June, targeting a September agreement for the takeover of the facility.
CPR had proposed a 30-year lease of the refinery and planned to spend $650mn during the first three years to repair and upgrade the plant, it said.
Curacao has failed several times to find an operator for Isla since the expiry of PdV’s license.
RdK has promoted the refinery as potentially able to resume refining crude from Venezuela, and to take feedstock from growing producer Guyana.
argus.com 02 21 2023