April 4 (Reuters) - The government of Curacao is sending officials this month to meet with companies interested in taking over and operating the island nation’s sole refinery and expects to receive non-binding proposals this summer, it said on Thursday.
Government-owned Refineria di Korsou has been searching for a business to replace Venezuela’s Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) as operator of the 335,000-barrel-per-day Isla refinery. The facility has been idled largely due to a lack of crude shipments.
Curacao has been looking for an operator willing to take over Isla, possibly before PDVSA’s contract to run the facility, which provides fuel and shipping operations, expires at the end of 2019.
Motiva Enterprises LLC initially was selected as preferred bidder, but dropped out of the running in January.
Curacao said in a statement it will send a team this month to visit companies interested in managing, operating and modernizing the facility, with the first trips scheduled this month in the United States and Britain.
It expects to evaluate potential bidders in May and June and accept non-binding proposals by July.
The government had previously held talks with China’s Guangdong Zhenrong to replace PDVSA as the refinery’s operator, but a deal was never reached. (Reporting by Sailu Urribarri, editing by G Crosse)