Three Bids in for Curacao Refinery

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Three Bids in for Curacao Refinery
Isla Refinery on Curacao. © Kevin Franklin

Refineria di Kursou, the Curacao government agency that owns the Isla Refinery, received three bids from interested parties to run its long-dormant facility, as the group aims to close its lengthy search for an operator.

The agency will evaluate the three proposals, present its findings to the government of Curacao and move forward in selecting a preferred bidder to open negotiations, the agency said in a press release. More than 20 companies showed initial interest in operating the plant.

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The agency did not disclose the companies that submitted proposals nor did it divulge the factors considered in evaluating the proposals.

Patrick Newton, interim director of Refineria di Kursou, told Lube Report in February that the agency expected to receive all binding proposals in March and select a preferred partner in April. Its aim would then be to conclude negotiations by the third quarter of this year and restart the refinery by the end of 2022. The agency confirmed that the timeline is unchanged.

While the last few attempts to find a partner required virtual data and tours of the facility because of the pandemic, this time interested companies could visit the refinery for an in-depth inspection.

The previous preferred bidders over the past five years were local consortium CORC, German oil trader Klesch Group, U.S.-based Motiva and Chinese company Guangdong Zhenrong Energy. Negotiations with all groups fell through for various reasons.

Only CORC and Klesch Group signed a lease agreement, but CORC failed to secure financing, crude supply and required permits. Klesch Group signed its agreement in December 2019 then backed out as the company found it more difficult to finance the purchase at the onset of the pandemic.

The previous attempts to find a partner suffered because of a variety of factors, Newton said, but he is optimistic this time.

Isla Refinery is a 335,000-barrels-per-day fuel refinery that had been operated by Venezuelan state-owned PdVSA since 1985. The refinery includes a base oil plant with capacity to produce 5,000 b/d of API Group I paraffinic base oils and 3,700 b/d of naphthenic base stocks.

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