PARIA Fuel Trading Co Ltd is defending its sale of 150,000 barrels of fuel to Swiss-based ES Euro Shipping. In a published advertisement in Newsday, the company said “the board and management of Paria are confident that (the company’s) role in this transaction is entirely in accordance with industry best practice.”
The state enterprise – born out of Petrotrin’s restructure as the importer and distributor of the country’s fuel – said on March 28 that ES Euro Shipping requested to purchase the fuel with the intended destination of the St Eustatius, a Dutch dependency and a tiny island just north of St Kitts and Nevis.
By April 12, a ship, the Aldan was approved to collect the fuel.
On or around April 14, Paria said it was advised by an independent contractor that the company requesting its service (to load the Aldan) had Venezuelan ties. Paria in its statement said, it contacted Euro Shipping and “specifically advised that Paria cannot transact business with any Venezuelan companies and its product cannot be shipped to Venezuela.
Euro Shipping replied the next day and said the fuel was not destined for Venezuela.
Also that day, payment was transferred to Paria. On April 21, the Aldan left Trinidad. According to Paria, it was only after information in the public domain that it became aware that the Aldan’s new destination was Aruba, another tiny island Dutch Antilles island, but much further south than St Eustatius – just off the coast of Venezuela. Euro Shipping confirmed this change.
A redacted sales contract with the local buyer in Aruba was provided, which included a sanctions clause, Paria said. The company then issued an amended contract with the destination as Aruba, along with the appropriate clause advising of the sanctions.
Euro Shipping agreed to Paria’s terms, including the sanctions clause, and in a further e-mail, also confirmed that the fuel had not been sold directly or indirectly to Venezuela’s oil sector – including but not limited to Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA and its affiliates. Paria said it was not aware, nor has it been advised, of any prohibitions of any kind with doing business with Euro Shipping or its principals.
It added that transactions like this (spot market sales) are common and do not need board approval, but rather the general manager, as was the case in this instance. St Eustatius is a common destination for Petrotrin/Paria’s fuel, as was Aruba for Petrotrin’s products.
“Paria’s market is domestic, regional and extra-regional,” the company said.