The United States has assured Italian oil company Eni SpA that efforts to prevent a spill at a floating crude facility in Venezuela would not run afoul of sanctions, the company and the U.S. State Department said Nov. 2
Images in recent months showing the Nabarima floating storage and offloading facility (FSO), part of the Petrosucre joint venture between Eni and Venezuela’s state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, tilting to its side have raised concerns of a potential environmental catastrophe.
The Nabarima has been idle for nearly two years after Washington sanctioned PDVSA as part of its push to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. It holds some 1.3 million barrels of Corocoro crude.
“Eni’s plan to safely offload the Nabarima FSO received on Thursday, Oct. 29, a green light from the U.S. authorities, confirming that the current sanctions policy does not prevent the company from offloading the cargo and repairing the vessel,” Eni, which owns 26% of Petrosucre, said in a statement.
Eni added that it would proceed with its plan upon approval from PDVSA.
PDVSA, which owns the remaining 74% of Petrosucre, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. PDVSA has been preparing its own plan to offload some crude aboard the Nabarima to its Icaro tanker.
It is not clear whether Eni will draft a new offloading plan, or whether the companies will move ahead to transfer crude to a PDVSA-operated vessel. Experts have recommended Petrosucre transfer the crude to a dynamic positioning vessel to minimize risks.
A spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs said the department “conveyed our support for emergency repairs” to Eni but did not specify a stance on offloading the crude.
“Eni is under no sanctions risk to begin immediate emergency repairs,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The rollback effort made by the administration of former President Donald Trump was among a string of eleventh-hour proposals aimed at maximizing energy development on public lands and waters.
The oil and gas rig count rose eight to 448 in the week to May 7, its highest since April 2020, Baker Hughes Co. said.
Marcellus and Utica shale discoveries, Diamondback completes a Wolfcamp producer in the Permian Basin plus an offshore prospect in the Gulf of Mexico’s Green Canyon Block top this week’s oil and gas drilling activity highlights from around the world.