Posted: Tuesday, February 27, 2018. 10:52 a.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: ALBA PetroCaribe Belize Energy Limited (APBEL) Deputy Chairman John Mencias, in an interview yesterday with Channel 7 News, clarified reports which suggested that government was unable to make payments to Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA, which has made the tanker Syrtos unable to offload fuel.
Mencias, who is the head of PetroCaribe operation in Belize under APBEL, said that the government has no role in the current situation and explained that US sanctions against Venezuela, particularly access to financial markets, has limited PDVSA’s access to certain banks, hindering payments from being made to and from Venezuela. According to Mencias, the way it works is that PUMA, Belize’s sole fuel importer, uses a trader called Traficgura, which then places the order to APBEL, the joint Belize-Venezuela company.
APBEL then places the order to PDVSA, which in turn contracts a vessel to ship the fuel from Curacao to Belize. In this instance, according to Mencias, because of sanctions placed on Venezuela by the US, PDVSA has been unable to make payments to the owners of the vessel, Syrtos, which is why the fuel has not been offloaded. According to Mencias, this is not the first time this has happened either.
“It is a situation between PDVSA and vessel’s owners. This is not the first time that this has happened. People are saying the government is somehow responsible for paying the ship. The government of Belize is not involved in this at all,” Mencias told 7News.
Mencias added that PUMA, who sources fuel from Venezuela, also has other sources and had purchased regular fuel from Guatemala in the meantime to ensure that supply remains uninterrupted. The ship bringing their regular and premium fuel is expected to reach between this coming Friday and Saturday, he added.
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