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UNITED STATES: We Have Enough World Oil To Avoid Caribbean Fuel Disruptions

WASHINGTON — There is enough oil supply in the global market to make up for potential fuel disruptions due to U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips’ legal actions against Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, a State Department spokesman said this week.

“The U.S. Department of State remains in contact with our partners in the Caribbean to reduce the risk of supply disruptions,” Vincent Campos, spokesman for the Bureau of Energy Resources at the department, told Reuters.

“There is sufficient oil supply in the global market that countries can access,” Campos said, adding that the United States was an increasing oil exporter to the region.

Conoco said on Tuesday it was far from collecting the full value of a $2 billion arbitration award against PDVSA, after the American oil major won court orders allowing it to seize PDVSA assets on Caribbean islands, including Curacao.

Three Curacao state-run utilities said on Tuesday they were filing a lawsuit in a local court to determine the responsibility of the local Isla refinery, operated by PDVSA, to meet fuel supply contracts following Conoco’s efforts to attach assets there.

The utilities, which include power and water company Aqualectra and fuel distributor Curoil, said a lack of fuel could have a severe impact on their operations and therefore on the local population.

PDVSA, which operates Isla, has stopped sending crude shipments on concern they could be seized.

Aruba’s Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes said on Tuesday she did not think the dispute would hurt the island.

She told journalists that government officials and the refinery management were organizing a contingency plan to avoid a situation similar to Curacao and Bonaire, where inventories were blocked by Conoco’s legal actions.

No fuel shortages have been reported in the Caribbean, but officials are trying to import from other sources.

Shares of ConocoPhillips were down 12 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $69.97 in midday trading.


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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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