15 Bid to Partner in Curacao


By the beginning of September, Curacaos Isla Refinery plans to enter negotiations with a potential partner wanting to become manager of the Caribbean refinery. Isla and Curacaos government are currently weighing proposals from 15 potential partners.

Current refinery manager and lessee Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., Venezuelas state-run oil company, halted production at the 100-year-old refinery earlier this year due to a lack of crude oil shipments amid PDVSAs ongoing financial troubles. PDVSA has leased the refinery since Shell conveyed it to Curacao in 1985, and its current contract runs through 2019. Curacao wants to replace the Venezuelan company, contending it has failed to perform necessary modernizations of the facilities.

Photo: Anna Krasnopeeva/Dreamstime

The Isla Refinery located in Willemstad, Curacao has capacity to produce 5,000 b/d of API Group I paraffinic base oils and 3,700 b/d of naphthenic stocks. The government of Curacao is seeking a new company to lease the refinery amid current lessee PDVSA’s financial troubles.

In a July 19 press release, the refinery stated that it will choose a single candidate by the beginning of September, then enter negotiations with a goal of signing a memorandum of understanding by October. By the second quarter of 2019 it would try to hammer out a final contract to take effect after the end of 2019.

Isla Refinery undertook the second process after failing to seal an agreement with Chinese oil trader Guangdong Zhenrong Energy. The parties had reached a preliminary agreement for GZE to enter a 40-year lease on a commitment to invest $10 billion to upgrade the facility. A government spokesman told Lube Report last month that the deal was nullified at the end of 2017.

Curacao is an island located in the southern Caribbean and is a constituent country of the Netherlands.

The Isla Refinery, located in Curacaos capital Willemstad, has crude oil production capacity of 335,000 barrels per day. The refinery includes a base oil plant that has capacity to produce 5,000 b/d of API Group I paraffinic base oils and 3,700 b/d of naphthenic stocks. When operating it is the second-biggest base oil plant in South and Central America and the Caribbean.

The refinery is old and relatively small, but the government considers it important to the local economy.

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