Spanish – The 1.3 million barrels of oil stranded in Venezuelan waters began to be transferred using a barge, a process that could take weeks and present environmental risks.
According to Reuters, the transfers are being made from the Nabarima floating storage and offloading facility (FSO) and will be loaded onto the Inmaculada barge, both of which are managed by PDVSA.
Reuters had already mentioned that the transfer would be of 10,000 barrels of crude per day, a procedure qualified as “tedious” by the Minister of Energy of Trinidad and Tobago.
The situation of this floating station has alerted the governments of Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as environmental experts, to the deplorable conditions that caused it to be tipped.
Recognizing the disaster
Although they have not offered official statements or communications, it seems that Venezuelan authorities recognize the environmental disaster that could occur in the Gulf of Paria, where the Nabarima station is located.
Since the alarms were turned on, PDVSA planned the discharge of part of the crude to the Icarus, a tanker programmed to deliver some 550,000 barrels of Corocoro crude in the port of Amuay in western Venezuela.
Monitoring data from the Refinitiv Eikon platform as reported by Reuters indicates that the Icarus sailed to Nabarima on Tuesday morning and anchored in the Gulf of Paria near the oil platform.
However, the transfer of crude oil using a barge represents a risk, according to warnings made earlier by Trinidad and Tobago’s energy minister, Franklyn Khan.
Khan estimated that the “tedious” process would take between 30 and 35 days, which posed “a greater risk of an environmental incident,” he told Trinidad’s CCN TV 6.
The evidence on the table
The event with the 264-meter-long boat triggered anxiety in different sectors, including the government of Barbados, which said it had been monitoring the situation of the tanker since September.
On the other hand, a team of experts from Trinidad and Tobago inspected the Nabarima installation. While they assured that there was no risk of sinking, the newly activated transfer would show that the 1.3 million crude oil would not be totally safe.
— ffostt (@ffostt1) October 16, 2020
The oil unionist Eudis Girot -recently imprisoned by the Chavista regime– commented to AFP in October that the problems of maintenance on the Nabarima began in 2014 but “were ignored.”
In August, a group of workers denounced that the ship had an 8% slope with its engine room flooded and its bilge pumps burned out.
Of course, PDVSA denied any irregularity, saying that the vessel had “all the operational and security conditions and did not constitute in any way a threat to the ecosystem,” reported DW.
The undeniable abandonment
PDVSA’s inaction regarding the Nabarima was mentioned by Eudis Girot during an interview before his arrest. There, he denied that the oil company- directed by Chavismo- used US sanctions as an excuse to avoid unloading the crude oil.
The US responded to any attempt at blame and informed the Italian oil company ENI SpA that efforts to prevent a spill on the floating facility would not conflict with the sanctions.
The Nabarima station is part of the Petrosucre joint venture between PDVSA and the Italian ENI SpA.
A spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs said the agency “conveyed our support for emergency repairs.”