Judges lift Conoco lien where needed for fuel

Representatives of the government-owned companies that went to court and unions with members working in the local energy sector APRI, PWFC, SGTK and STK explaining the ruling.

Employees at what was supposed to be a mobilisation gathering against the seizures but turned into an info session on the latest developments.

WILLEMSTAD–Judges in Curaçao and Bonaire have determined that the seizure by American company ConocoPhilips on Venezuelan oil possessions in the Dutch Caribbean must be lifted in so far as necessary for the neighbouring state-run “Petroleos de Venezuela” PDVSA to start supplying the islands again.

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   However, payments for deliveries must be made on an escrow account until it’s determined who has a right to such. This has led to concern among energy sector unions APRI, PWFC, SGTK and STK that PDVSA might not be able to operate the local Isla refinery it leases that way due to lack of income.

Attorney for Isla holding “Refineria di Korsou” and Curaçao utilities provider Aqualectra Eric de Vries explained that only payments that fall under the attachment to PDVSA would be held, not those for the refinery. He was speaking at a gathering intended to mobilise the union members that turned into an information session on the ruling.

On May 4, ConocoPhillips seized several government-owned companies that do business with PDVSA to collect an outstanding claim of US $2 billion.

Both the court in Curaçao and in Bonaire have decided that the liens must be lifted to the extent that this is necessary for the fuel and electricity supply on both islands. The judges considered that ConocoPhillips has a legitimate interest in securing its claim on PDVSA as much as possible, but “that a commercial dispute between these two companies does not justify the risk of a society as a whole being disrupted as a result of a shortage of fuel and electricity”.

The conflict has been ongoing for some time, but recently the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce decided that ConocoPhillips can claim two billion dollars. That amount is to compensate for a forced nationalization of two oil projects of the company in Venezuela in 2007.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/76799-judges-lift-conoco-lien-where-needed-for-fuel

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