Petrotrin spill: fuel oil enters Venezuelan waters

PDVSA expected to treat spilled product on the other side of the border, says Petrotrin.

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Updated on 02 May 2017 12:55 GMT

Bunker supplier Petrotrin says cleanup, recovery and remediation efforts are continuing following the discovery of a leak at one of its fuel oil storage tanks at the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery in Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday, April 23.

The state-owned energy company explained on Monday that it was "working closely with the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries to assess the situation in neighbouring Venezuela with a view to providing assistance should it become necessary."

On Sunday, Petrotrin noted that a patch of hydrocarbon material had entered into Venezuelan waters and Trinidad's Ministry of Energy had requested assistance in accordance with the bi-lateral oil spill agreement between both countries.

Venezuelan oil firm and bunker supplier Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) was expected to treat the spilled material on the other side of the border, Petrotrin said.

Estimates from the Incident Command Center last week, on April 25, indicated that around 300 barrels of fuel oil had entered the sea. Two days earlier, Petrotrin had said that some 20 barrels of fuel oil had escaped from the tank, according to initial estimates.

"Whenever aerial and marine surveys revealed patches of spilled material, vessels have been quickly despatched to treat them using materials approved by the Ministry. Aerial surveys conducted both on Friday and yet again today (Sunday) reveal that there are no new sightings of oil outside of that contained by the booms," Petrotrin noted on April 30.

Bunkering operation

A month ago, on April 3, Petrotrin confirmed that it was resuming bunkering operations following the wet lease charter of the tanker Valme B, which arrived in Trinidad on March 29.

The double-hulled Valme B has the capacity to store up to 20,000 barrels of fuel oil, 6,900 barrels of high-sulphur marine gas oil (HSMGO) and 18,800 barrels of low-sulphur marine gas oil (LSMGO). Its pumping rates are: 6,500 barrels-per-hour (bph) for fuel oil, 700 bph for HSMGO and 6,500 bph for LSMGO.

"The wet lease charter arrangement will allow for Petrotrin's representatives to be on board the vessel along with the vessel's own crew to deliver bunkers to ships in our local waters as well as offshore Trinidad. It also allows for the possibility of bunker/cargo delivery regionally," Petrotrin said three weeks ago.

The vessel will be on hire to Petrotrin for a one-year period, initially, while arrangements are being made for purchase of the company's own double-hull bunker barge to replace the Marabella - a single-hull barge that was decommissioned in September 2015.