WASHINGTON, May 16 (Reuters) - 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 on Wednesday.
“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. (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot)