Report: Eni Seeking Options to Offload Crude From Venezuelan FSO

nabarima pdvsa
The Nabarima (file image courtesy PDVSA Petrosucre)

Published Sep 2, 2020 4:11 PM by The Maritime Executive

After crewmembers reported problems with flooding on board, the operators of the Venezuelan FSO Nabarima are looking at options to offload her 1.3 million barrels of crude onto a tanker in order to reduce risk.

In a social media post Sunday, the head of the Unitary Federation of Petroleum Workers of Venezuela (FUTPV) warned that the vessel was in "very poor condition" and had about nine feet of water in her lower decks. The official, Eudis Girot, also shared photos showing flooding in the interior of a large vessel. Separately, Venezuelan opposition politician María Gabriela Hernández reported that the Nabarima had taken on a list.

Nabarima is located at the Corocoro field in the Gulf of Paria, which is operated by Petrosucre, a join venture between U.S.-sanctioned state oil company PDVSA and the Italian oil major Eni. According to Reuters, the vessel had taken on a starboard list in July. A seawater leak (or a freshwater leak from internal equipment, depending upon the source) reportedly affected the vessel's engine room, and the problem grew over time because Nabarima's bilge pump system was not working. The FSO's crew has warned that the facility - like most oil and gas infrastructure in Venezuela - has not been adequately maintained.

Reuters reports that Eni has been negotiating with the U.S. Treasury Department - which oversees the sanctions regime - to obtain permission to offload the vessel's oil. Treasury has been informed of the environmental risk posed by the deteriorating vessel, which is located just off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago. 

Trinidadian energy minister Franklin Khan told T&T News on Wednesday that his ministry is closely monitoring the situation aboard the Nabarima. "Information coming out of Venezuela is that the ship is upright and in a stable condition pending preparation for the transfer of the cargo to a contracted vessel," he said. 

Eni told Argus Media on Wednesday that the vessel is in stable condition and that the water leak has already been resolved.