| HOUSTON/PUNTO FIJO, Venezuela
HOUSTON/PUNTO FIJO, Venezuela More than 4 million barrels of Venezuelan crude and fuels are sitting in tankers anchored in the Caribbean sea, unable to reach their final destination because state-run PDVSA cannot pay for hull cleaning, inspections, and other port services, according to internal documents and Reuters data. About a dozen tankers are being held back because the hulls have been soiled by crude, stemming from several oil leaks in the last year at key ports of Bajo Grande and Jose, which has resulted in delayed operations for loading and discharging. Since debt-laden PDVSA cannot afford to have the ships cleaned, they have to wait for weeks to navigate international waters, delaying shipments. Dirty tankers are the latest of a litany of problems weighing on PDVSA, the source of most of Venezuela’s export revenue and critical to the government’s budget. Oil production and exports are currently at lows not seen in more than two decades. PDVSA’s difficulty with paying creditors and service providers makes pulling itself out of that hole more onerous. That has contributed to a deep, years-long recession in the OPEC country. Further reading at Reuters.