Joe's Oil: Venezuela's state oil company admits its tankers are floating junk heaps and firetraps

In recent months, Joe Biden has been busy trying to secure Venezuelan oil to supply America's energy needs in the wake of his shutdown of American energy independence.

The idea is to get foreign suppliers to replace American output to offset high gas prices at the pump. Ever since Biden ended American energy independence when he shut down the Keystone XL pipeline and closed U.S. public lands to drilling, his minions in the White House, known as "the three stooges," have been targeting Venezuela as a replacement supplier in particular, through negotiations to drop sanctions. Already, they've given Chevron a green light to resume some oil operations. Venezuela has been under Treasury Department sanctions for drug dealing, human rights violations, and corruption.

Bad as U.S. and European sanctions may be for Venezuela, it's nothing compared to what Venezuela has done to itself, through the nightmare of socialism, turning its entire industry into a shambles. 

Maintenance in particular has suffered -- the rusty pumpjacks and other equipment slowly returning to the jungle has already been in the news. But sure enough, Venezuela's tankers, which were once its pride and joy, with many named after Venezuela's beauty queens, are just as neglected. They've become floating junk heaps, firetraps and health hazards, according to an internal report obtained by Reuters.

PUNTO FIJO, May 4 (Reuters) - More than half of the 22 oil tankers in Venezuela's fleet are so run down that they should be immediately repaired or taken out of service, according to an internal report from state-run oil company PDVSA that was shared exclusively with Reuters.

The report by PDVSA's maritime branch, entitled "Critical deficiencies and risks of PDV Marina's tanker fleet," said years of deferred maintenance had left the entire fleet with "low levels of reliability," at risk of spills, sinking, fires, collisions or flooding.

"The ships currently lack seaworthiness classification and certifications by flag nations," the report said.

PDVSA and PDV Marina did not respond to requests for comment.

The report, dated March 2023, was among eight documents shared with Reuters describing the state of PDVSA's tanker fleet from the oil company's corporate office, trading division and maritime branch, as well as Venezuela's maritime authority. The existence of the documents has not been previously reported.

That's bad stuff. There already were indicators of it, back in 2020 when a listing, tilting, Venezuelan oil tanker nearly created an ecological disaster in the Caribbean, reported here. Those ships filled with millions of gallons of heavy fuel could go off like bombs or else spring leaks and create one, two, many Valdezes. If they are allowed to transport oil into the U.S., those hazards are brought here. It's gotten so bad Venezuela has begun chartering ships, according to the Reuters report. But even the ones that don't merit being taken out of service are bound to be in very bad shape with none of the environmental nor safety standards seen on well-maintained U.S. oil company ships.

That's what Biden wants brought in here, anything but permit domestic drilling, the vital pipeline from Canada, and professional and safe tanker transport. All it takes is one mistake in a U.S. port for disaster to happen, and we already know that there have been a lot of them here, on ships and at refineries, even without extremely dilapidated states of maintenance.

Where are the environmental activists who've got Joe on their puppet strings for that one? Importing any energy from Venezuela should be off the table until those tankers are brought up to western standards of maintenance.

Image: PXFuel // CC0 public domain

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