Image courtesy of the_tahoe_guy/Wikimedia Commons.

Several tankers loaded with BP crude have been sitting off the coast of Venezuela for days as the company awaits payment from state-owned PDVSA.

Sources told Reuters that deliveries from four BP hired tankers holding more than 2 million barrels of West Texas Intermediate are being held until BP receives payment from Venezuela’s PDVSA.

Three of the tankers have been anchored for over 30 days, according to data seen by Reuters.

Neither BP nor PDVSA have commented on the matter.

The deliveries are part of a deal between BP, China Oil and PDVSA in March that calls for Venezuela to import about 8 million barrels of WTI.

The imports will be used to dilute the heavier oil produced in Venezuela.

Issues with loading arms at the country’s main crude port that began in March have also doubled wait times, Reuters said.

PDVSA told Reuters those issues were repaired on Tuesday.

Venezuela has been struggling with rolling blackouts and political unrest this year as low oil prices compound the country’s fiscal problems.

Schlumberger said in April that it will reduce its activity level in Venezuela due to missing payments from PDVSA.

“This measure is a result of insufficient payments received in recent quarters and a lack of progress in establishing new mechanisms that address past and future accounts receivable,” Schlumberger said in April.

In a statement, PDVSA said it “categorically denies” media reports about Schlumberger’s decision and it is continuing to make payments to Schlumberger.

Venezuela declared every Friday a public holiday earlier this year in an effort to curb energy consumption.

Venezuelan officials were among the first to request that OPEC consider a production freeze agreement after oil prices began sinking in late 2014.

PDVSA chief Eulogio del Pino said in November 2014 that larger OPEC members were engaging in a “price war.”

OPEC is meeting in Vienna, Austria on Wednesday but a production freeze agreement is unlikely to materialize.


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