September 5, 2019 / 1:55 AM / in a year

Curacao opens talks with Klesch Group to operate Isla refinery

Sept 4 (Reuters) - Curacao's state-run refining company Refineria di Korsou (RdK) said on Wednesday it has opened exclusive negotiations with industrial commodities conglomerate Klesch Group to operate the 335,000-barrel-per-day Isla refinery.

RdK has been searching for a business to replace Venezuela's Petroleos de Venezuela as operator of Isla. PDVSA's contract will expire at year-end. A lack of crude shipments has left the facility largely idle.

"RdK selected ... the Klesch Group to exclusively negotiate a new agreement for the Oil Facilities," the company said in a statement. "The negotiations are set to take place during the next 3 months with the intention to reach final definitive agreements no later than November 2019."

The Klesch Group has offices in London and Geneva. It owns and operates the Heide refinery in Germany.

The announcement appears to bury PDVSA President Manuel Quevedo's last-ditch effort to keep PDVSA on as operator in a July visit to the facility.

Isla began a search for a replacement to PDVSA after a dispute last year between the Venezuelan firm and U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips left the plant idled amid attempted asset seizures. (Reporting by Sailu Urribari; writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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