TCRLA_Public/190919.mbx        T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

                 L A T I N   A M E R I C A

          Thursday, September 19, 2019, Vol. 20, No. 188





BANCO DE BRASILIA: Fitch Affirms BB- LT IDR; Still Rating Watch Neg


CHILE: IDB Approves $100MM Loan to Finance Program for Growth


CUBA: Confident of Winning Foreign Investment Despite Fuel Crisis


GUYANA: External Current Account Deficit Rose to 17.5% of GDP


PERKINS & MARIE: U.S. Trustee Forms 5-Member Committee
UNIFIN FINANCIERA: S&P Affirms Global Scale 'BB' ICR, Outlook Neg.

P U E R T O   R I C O

STONEMOR PARTNERS: Sets Sept. 26 as Rights Offering Record Date


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Suspends Crude Blending & Cut Back Output
VENEZUELA: Guaido Quits Barbados Talks

                           - - - - -


Fitch Ratings has downgraded the Issuer Default Ratings of Banco de
la Ciudad de Buenos Aires. The downgrade follows the recent rating
actions taken by Fitch on Banco Ciudad's parent, City of Buenos

Fitch downgraded the Long-Term Local and Foreign Currency IDRs of
the City of Buenos Aires to 'CCC' from 'B-'/Outlook Negative as
these are capped by Argentina's Country Ceiling according to its
Local and Regional Governments rating criteria. The downgrade of
Argentina's Country Ceiling to 'CCC' reflects the recent imposition
of capital controls as of Sept. 2 and risks that these could be
tightened further given the sovereign's limited foreign financing
options. The IDRs of Banco Ciudad are driven by parent support and
following the downgrade, the IDRs of Banco Ciudad have been
equalized to the ratings of CBA. The IDRs of Banco Ciudad had been
recently placed on Rating Watch Negative to reflect a likely
downgrade of CBA's IDRs following the recent sovereign downgrade.
The ratings have been removed from Rating Watch Negative.


The IDRs of Banco Ciudad are driven by parent support. Fitch
believes Banco Ciudad's parent, CBA (CCC), demonstrates adequate
capacity and propensity to provide extraordinary support to the
bank, should it be needed. Argentina's country ceiling represents a
constraint on the IDRs of Banco Ciudad's sole shareholder, CBA.
Equalization of the bank's IDRs with those of its parent is
supported by CBA's legal guarantee of the bank's operations
(including deposits, debt securities and wholesale funding), its
full ownership stake, and the bank's integral role in government
operations such as tax collection and payment of city employee

Banco Ciudad's Viability Rating (VR) is highly influenced by the
operating environment. While the rating also considers the bank's
adequate capitalization metrics, its stable and low cost funding
base and its track record of good asset quality and decent
profitability, the bank's VR remains constrained by the low
sovereign rating of Argentina given the influence of the operating
environment on the bank's performance. In Fitch's opinion,
conditions underlying the agency's recent downgrade of the
sovereign's Long-Term IDR on Aug. 30 to 'RD' (restricted default)
following the government's unilateral extension of repayment on
certain debt obligations and subsequent upgrade on Sept. 3 to 'CC'
after the payment of short-term debt instruments under revised
terms are likely to adversely impact this bank's financial
performance through more market volatility, further declining loan
portfolios (in real terms), rising non-performing loans, higher
funding costs and rising administrative expenses due to rising


The IDRs and VR of Banco Ciudad are sensitive to any further
changes in the ratings of CBA, which are capped by the country
ceiling, or Argentina's sovereign ratings. A material deterioration
in the local operating environment over the foreseeable future that
leads to a material deterioration in its financial profile could
also pressure the VR. The bank's VR would likely move in line with
any change to Argentina's sovereign rating, while the IDRs are
sensitive to a change in the country ceiling.

S&P Global Ratings kept its 'B-' long-term issuer credit ratings on
Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires (BAPRO) on CreditWatch

S&P said, "In our view, currently the province of Buenos Aires'
weaker creditworthiness hasn't significantly diminished BAPRO's
capacity to face its commitments. In this context, the bank's
higher cash generation over the last few years has allowed it to
cover expenses associated with its role as a public bank, and cover
deficits from the bank's pension fund. In addition, BAPRO's direct
exposure to the province is manageable, accounting for about 5% of
total assets as of June 2019 and comprised of bonds and loans to
the province. However, we will monitor if this exposure increases
as well as how BAPRO's results evolve and how these factors affect
the bank's creditworthiness.

"We believe that BAPRO has adequate liquidity levels that are in
line with other banks in the system, with a relatively larger
exposure to the public sector due to its role as a public bank and
its inherent relationship with the province. Furthermore, BAPRO has
limited exposure to the capital markets, with only 3% of its
funding coming from senior unsecured debt. Additionally, BAPRO has
manageable maturities coming due in the next 12 months, which we
expect that the bank will be able to service with its current
liquidity (outstanding debt represents 5% of liquidity as of June
2019 and BAPRO only needs 3% to face coming due debt in the next 12


BANCO DE BRASILIA: Fitch Affirms BB- LT IDR; Still Rating Watch Neg
Fitch Ratings has maintained the Rating Watch Negative on BRB -
Banco de Brasilia S.A.'s Issuer Default Ratings, Viability Rating
and National Ratings. In addition, Fitch has affirmed BRB's Support
Rating at '4'.



BRB's IDRs and National Ratings are driven by the bank's VR. The
maintenance of BRB's IDRs, National Ratings and VR on Rating Watch
Negative reflects the ongoing forensic audit carried out by
PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the bank's auditors' (Ernst & Young
Auditores Independentes S.S.) qualified opinion in its recently
published financial statements. The forensic audit's objective is
to investigate potential irregularities that could have taken place
in the legal, financial, procedural, and information systems and
technology areas of the bank in the past six years. BRB expects it
to be completed in October 2019.

The rating actions reflect the continued uncertainties surrounding
BRB's past corporate governance practices and risk controls under
the bank's former management, and the potential negative effects of
the ongoing investigations on the bank's financial profile.

BRB's new management team, which took office after the announcement
of Federal Police's Operation Circus Maximus, is composed of
individuals with long track records in the banking sector. The new
management took a series of measures to enhance BRB's corporate
governance, risk management and internal controls (including the
forensic audit), but these have not been tested yet, while the
ultimate outcome of the recent past's negative events remains
unclear. They have also revamped the bank's strategy with a
significant focus on modernization of both internal processes and
the bank's digital platforms, with the objective of expanding and
strengthening its client base.

BRB published its financial-statements for year-end 2018, March
2019 and June 2019 on Aug. 28, 2019. The June 2019 statements carry
a qualified opinion, which is based on the auditors' belief that
the future outcomes of the ongoing forensic audit and
investigations by public authorities, and their ultimate potential
effects on the bank's financial statements, cannot be foreseen.

The financial statements from December 2018 through June 2019 show
that BRB's credit metrics are commensurate with the bank's ratings.
BRB's asset quality indicators are healthy, reflecting BRB's focus
on secured lending. In June 2019, payroll deductible loans and
mortgages made up 58% and 9% of gross loans, respectively. In the
same period, NPLs over 90 days stood at a comfortable 2% of gross
loans, unchanged from year-end 2018. Loans classified in the D-H
range of the central bank's risk scale fell to 6.25% in June 2019
from 7.67% in 2018. BRB's loan loss allowance coverage of D-H loans
stood at a comfortable 75% in June 2019 (64% in 2018).

BRB's profitability is solid, with operating profit at 6.3% of RWAs
at June 2019 (5.7% in 2018). Fitch expects BRB's earnings to remain
stable and benefit from growth in relatively lower risk products.

BRB's capitalization is comfortable. The bank's Fitch Core Capital
ratio has steadily improved since 2015, supported by modest growth,
good profitability and moderate dividend payments. In June 2019,
the FCC ratio stood at 16.71% up from 15.49% at year-end 2018.

BRB's funding and liquidity remain sound. The bank has a retail
funding base, which is highly stable, diversified and low cost,
with customer deposits making up 87% of total funding in June 2019.
In the same period, gross loans corresponded to 88% of deposit and
deposit-like financial bills.


Fitch affirmed BRB's SR at '4'. The bank's SR reflects the limited
probability of support from its majority shareholder, the
Government of the Federal District (GDF). Fitch believes the GDF
would have a high willingness but relatively limited capacity to
support BRB, should the need arise. BRB is strategically important
for the GDF, as it is the local government's main financial agent,
and it has a meaningful market share in the state's loans and time
deposits. In addition to its commercial operations, BRB performs a
policy role for the region through lending operations that aim to
promote development and growth.



Fitch will resolve the Rating Watch Negative status as soon as
feasible once the forensic audit is concluded, and BRB's auditors
have more clarity on the effect of the ongoing investigations on
the bank's financial statements. The Rating Watch Negative could
remain in place until Fitch has the opportunity to review the full
year 2019 audited financial statements together with the auditors'
opinion, which could take more than six months from the date of the
publication of this press release. Fitch could downgrade BRB's VR
if the forensic audit concludes that significant irregularities
took place in the bank in the recent past, leading to a material
worsening of Fitch's assessment of the bank's overall business and
risk profile.

BRB's IDRs and National Ratings could be downgraded in the event of
a downgrade of the bank's VR. However, downside potential on the
bank's IDRs and National Ratings would be limited, due to the
expected support from GDF, unless Fitch changes its assessment of
GDF's propensity or ability to support BRB.

Fitch could affirm and remove BRB's ratings from Ratings Watch
Negative if the forensic audit's conclusions are not material from
a credit point of view. In this scenario, the resulting Rating
Outlook would depend on Fitch's assessment of the medium-term
prospects for the bank's business and financial profile, and the
impact of these on its credit profile.


The SR is potentially sensitive to any change in assumptions around
the propensity or ability of GDF to provide timely support to the

Fitch affirmed BRB's SR at '4' and has maintained the Rating Watch
Negative on the following:

  -- Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency IDRs 'BB-';

  -- Short-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency IDRs 'B';

  -- Long-Term National Rating 'A+(bra)';

  -- Short-Term National Rating 'F1(bra)';

  -- Viability Rating 'bb-'.


CHILE: IDB Approves $100MM Loan to Finance Program for Growth
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a loan of $100
million to finance a program that will help the increase in
investment and contribute to the sustained and sustainable growth
of Chile.

The project objectives include maintaining a stable macroeconomic
environment, as well as supporting the creation and operation of an
institutional structure for the efficient processing of investment
projects and strengthening the public and private organizations
involved in the processing of investment projects.

In the same way, it will support the improvement in the regulatory
frameworks that affect the processing of investment projects, and
the establishment of a mechanism for monitoring and evaluating
results for the Office of Sustainable Project Management (GPS).

Precisely, among the components of the program is the creation and
operation of the GPS Office, in practice a coordination mechanism
and support for the efficient processing of investment projects.
Other components are the measures that will be adopted for the
alignment and strengthening of public and private organizations
involved in the processing of investment projects and the
preparation of proposals for improvement in their regulatory
frameworks, as well as for the implementation of a monitoring
mechanism. and evaluation of results in the GPS Office.

Among the beneficiaries of the program are a minimum of 5,000
companies holding investment projects, of which 500 are large
companies and 4,500 small and medium-sized companies, and public
and private organizations that participate in the granting of
project permits are also beneficiaries. investment.

In addition, it is expected to have a positive impact on the level
of investment of the Chilean economy, through the reduction of the
processing times of permits for investment projects, a lower rate
of obstacles perceived by companies to meet the requirements of the
public administration, and of a greater diffusion of the
activities, management indicators and the results achieved by the
GPS Office.

The IDB loan of $100 million is structured under the Multiple
Reform Policy Reform Support Loan, has a repayment term of 13 and a
half years, a grace period of 8 years, and an interest rate based


CUBA: Confident of Winning Foreign Investment Despite Fuel Crisis
EFE News reports that Cuba hopes to attract more foreign investment
at its biggest trade event, the 2019 Havana International Fair
(FIHAV), to be held in November despite the fuel crisis the country
is going through that affects transportation and the activities of
companies and citizens.

"The circumstances are very difficult," the director general of
foreign investment at the Foreign Trade Ministry, Deborah Rivas,
said during the presentation of the 4th Business Forum, which will
form part of the 37th Havana International Fair, scheduled between
Nov. 3-8, according to EFE News.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on Sept.
17, 2019, Moody's Investors Service affirmed the Government of
Cuba's long-term foreign-currency and local-currency issuer ratings
at Caa2. The outlook remains stable.


GUYANA: External Current Account Deficit Rose to 17.5% of GDP
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
concluded an Article IV consultation with Guyana, and prepared a

IMF noted that Guyana's economic growth strengthened in 2018 with
broad-based expansion across all major sectors. Real GDP grew by
4.1 percent, led by construction and services sectors, up from 2.1
percent in 2017. Inflation remained low at 1.6 percent at end-2018.
The external current account deficit rose to 17.5 percent of GDP,
from 6.8 percent in 2017, due to weaker exports and higher imports
related to oil production, which was largely financed by foreign
direct investment (FDI) in the petroleum sector. Public finances
improved in 2018 as the central government deficit came in at 3.5
percent of GDP, lower than the budgeted 5.4 percent of GDP.

The medium-term prospects are very favorable as oil production is
on schedule to begin in early 2020. Economic growth is projected at
4.4 percent in 2019, extending the broad-based expansion across all
major sectors. The current account deficit is estimated to rise to
22.7 percent of GDP on the back of higher imports related to oil
production, which will be largely financed by FDI in the petroleum
sector. The commencement of oil production in 2020 will
substantially improve Guyana's medium-and long-term outlook. The
oil sector is projected to grow rapidly, accounting for around 40
percent of GDP by 2024 and supporting additional fiscal spending
annually of 6.5 percent of non-oil GDP on average over the medium
term, which will help meet critical social and infrastructure
needs. Public debt and the external current account deficit are
projected to decline steadily following the onset of oil

                    Executive Board Assessment

Directors welcomed Guyana's broad-based economic expansion in
recent years underpinned by prudent macroeconomic policies.
Directors noted that the medium-term outlook is favorable but
highlighted that the commencement of the oil production presents
both opportunities and challenges. Directors emphasized that to
ensure the effective use of windfall revenues, policies should
focus on reducing macroeconomic vulnerabilities, addressing
structural weaknesses, boosting inclusive growth, and promoting
intergenerational equity.

Directors welcomed the authorities' Natural Resource Fund (NRF)
legislation for managing Guyana's oil wealth and emphasized the
need to complement it with a fiscal responsibility framework to
avoid fiscal deficits. They commended that the NRF's framework aims
to save some of the resource income for future generations and
contain the pickup in public spending. To meet these objectives,
Directors called for the authorities to constrain the annual
non-oil deficit to not exceed the expected transfer from the NRF.
This rule could be phased in over the next three years to allow a
smooth widening of the nom-oil deficit (in relation to non-oil

Directors agreed that monetary policy should gradually revert to a
neutral stance to contain potential inflationary pressure as public
spending increases, economic growth strengthens, and credit
expands. Over the medium-term, developing the infrastructure for
greater exchange rate flexibility within the monetary policy
framework would help sustain healthy economic growth while
maintaining price stability and facilitating adjustment to oil
price and other external shocks.

Directors noted the continued progress in strengthening
transparency and governance and encouraged sustained efforts to
implement the recommendations of the 2019 Extractive Industries
Transparency Initiative Report, which would promote effective and
transparent management of the oil wealth. They also supported
strengthening anti-corruption frameworks, including by facilitating
the work of the Integrity Commission, to improve governance,
support investor confidence and promote growth. At the same time,
addressing institutional capacity weaknesses would enable decisive
implementation of policy actions to further strengthen governance.

Directors noted that it is important to further improve the
quality, efficiency, and transparency of public financial
management. They recommended addressing the shortcomings identified
by the 2017 Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA) and
expenditure review before public investment is significantly
scaled-up with oil revenues.

Directors recommended an asset quality review to assess the credit
quality of banks with high nonperforming loans. They welcomed the
progress made in implementing the 2016 FSAP recommendations and
encouraged completing the remaining ones. Directors noted the
authorities' progress in strengthening the AML/CFT framework and
called for further efforts in this regard.

Directors encouraged the authorities to use the opportunity
presented by oil revenues to undertake structural reforms to
support economic diversification, tackle skilled labor shortages,
and achieve inclusive and equitable growth. Priority should be
given to address infrastructure bottlenecks and upgrade the
education system. In addition, promoting more flexible working
arrangements could help increase female labor participation.
Directors underscored the importance of improving the business
environment and enhancing competitiveness. They also recommended
putting more efforts into developing climate-resilient
infrastructure networks.


PERKINS & MARIE: U.S. Trustee Forms 5-Member Committee
Andrew Vara, acting U.S. trustee for Region 3, on Aug. 14 appointed
five creditors to serve on the official committee of unsecured
creditors in the Chapter 11 cases of Perkins & Marie Callender's
LLC and its affiliates.

The committee members are:

     (1) SCF RC Funding L, LLC
         Attn: AJ Peil, Senior Vice President
         902 Carnegie Center, Suite 520
         Princeton, NJ 08540
         Phone: 609-436-0625   

     (2) WF PP Realty, LLC
         Attn: Robert G. Friedman, Owner & Manager
         510 East 80th Street
         New York, NY 10075
         Phone: 212-744-9675
         Fax: 212-744-2126   

     (3) Bono Burns Distr. Inc.
         Attn: J. Gerard Burns, President
         3616 S. Big Bend Blvd.
         St. Louis, MO 63143
         Phone: 314-650-5685

     (4) Departure
         Attn: Emily Rex, CEO & Co-Founder
         427 C. Street, Suite 406
         San Diego, CA 92101
         Phone: 619-607-1001

     (5) DJ-9, Inc.
         Attn: David M. D'Onofrio, President
         2011 W. Cleveland Street, Suite E
         Tampa, FL 33606
         Phone: 813-220-4488

Proposed counsel to the Committee:

     Bradford J. Sandler, Esq.
     Colin R. Robinson, Esq.
     Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP
     919 N. Market Street, 17th Floor
     Wilmington, DE 19801
     Telephone: (302) 652-4100
     Facsimile: (302) 652-4400
Official creditors' committees serve as fiduciaries to the general
population of creditors they represent.  They may investigate the
debtor's business and financial affairs. Committees have the right
to employ legal counsel, accountants and financial advisors at a
debtor's expense.

                About Perkins & Marie Callender's

Perkins & Marie Callender's, LLC, -- are operators and franchisors of
family-dining and casual-dining restaurants, under their two
highly-recognized brands: (i) their full-service family dining
restaurants located primarily in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio,
Pennsylvania and Florida under the name "Perkins Restaurant and
Bakery" and (ii) their mid-priced, full-service casual-dining
restaurants, specializing in the sale of pies and other bakery
items, located primarily in California and Nevada under the name
"Marie Callender's Restaurant and Bakery".  The Company was formed
in 2006 following the combination of the Perkins Restaurant &
Bakery chain with Marie Callender's.

As of the Petition Date, the Debtors own 111 Perkins restaurants
located in 11 states, and franchise 255 Perkins restaurants located
in 30 states and four Canadian provinces.  Similarly, as of the
Petition Date, the Debtors own and/or operate 28 Marie Callender's
restaurants located in three states, and franchise 21 Marie
Callender's restaurants located in two states and Mexico.  Thus,
the Debtors own, operate or franchise over 400 restaurants
throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.  

On Aug. 5, 2019, Perkins & Marie Callender's, LLC, and 9 affiliates
sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (Bankr. D. Del. Lead Case
No. 19-11743).

Perkins & Marie estimated $50 million to $100 million in assets and
$100 million to $500 million in liabilities.

The Hon. Kevin Gross oversees the jointly administered cases.

The Debtors tapped Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as bankruptcy
counsel; Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A. as local counsel; Houlihan
Lokey, INnc. as investment banker; and FTI Consulting as financial
advisor.  Kurtzman Carson Consultants LLC is the claims agent.

UNIFIN FINANCIERA: S&P Affirms Global Scale 'BB' ICR, Outlook Neg.
S&P Global Ratings affirmed its global scale 'BB' issuer credit and
issue-level ratings on Unifin Financiera, S.A.B. de C.V. SOFOM,
E.N.R. (Unifin). S&P said, "We also affirmed our 'mxA/mxA-1'
national scale ratings on Unifin. At the same time, we affirmed our
'B' issue-level rating on Unifin's subordinated perpetual notes.
The outlook remains negative on both rating scales."

S&P said, "Our ratings on Unifin reflect its stable and growing
business operations that mostly involve pure leasing activities,
primarily in the small to midsize enterprise (SME) sector.
Additionally, the ratings incorporate our forecasted RAC ratio of
7.7% for the next 12 months. Ratings also incorporates our view of
low reserve coverage and historically aggressive growth. Finally,
we base our funding and liquidity assessment on the firm's
diversified funding base compared with the Mexico's nonbank
financial institution (NBFI) industry, and its sufficient liquidity
to support financial obligations for the next 12 months." Unifin's
stand-alone credit profile (SACP) is 'bb'.

P U E R T O   R I C O

STONEMOR PARTNERS: Sets Sept. 26 as Rights Offering Record Date
StoneMor Partners L.P. has set 5:00 p.m. New York City time on
Sept. 26, 2019 as the record date for its upcoming rights

The subscription rights will expire if they are not exercised by
5:00 p.m. New York City time on Oct. 25, 2019.  The Partnership
may, at its sole discretion, extend the rights offering for a
period not to exceed 30 days.  All exercises of subscription rights
are irrevocable.

Under the rights offering, the Partnership will distribute one
non-transferable subscription right for each common unit held by
qualified unitholders of record on the record date.  Each right
will entitle the holder to purchase 1.24 common units for each
common unit held by the unitholder as of the record date.  The
subscription price will equal the $1.20 per common unit.

The Partnership plans to use the proceeds from the rights offering
to redeem up to 33,487,904 of the preferred units issued in the
previous announced preferred unit private placement.  Upon the
closing of the rights offering, and the conversion of all
outstanding preferred units and the exchange of StoneMor GP LLC's
general partner interest in connection with the previously
announced merger, the Company anticipates that it will have
approximately 94,597,271 common units outstanding.

As soon as practicable following the record date, the Partnership
intends to mail to unitholders of record, as of the record date, a
prospectus and related documents for use in exercising subscription
rights.  Questions about the rights offering or requests for copies
of the prospectus, when available, may be directed to D.F. King &
Co., Inc., the Partnership's information agent for the rights
offering, by calling 1-800-967-4607 (toll-free).

                       About StoneMor Partners

StoneMor Partners L.P., headquartered in Trevose, Pennsylvania -- is an owner and operator of cemeteries
and funeral homes in the United States, with 321 cemeteries and 90
funeral homes in 27 states and Puerto Rico.  StoneMor's cemetery
products and services, which are sold on both a pre-need (before
death) and at-need (at death) basis, include: burial lots, lawn and
mausoleum crypts, burial vaults, caskets, memorials, and all
services which provide for the installation of this merchandise.

StoneMor reported a net loss of $72.69 million for the year ended
Dec. 31, 2018, compared to a net loss of $75.15 million for the
year ended Dec. 31, 2017.  As of June 30, 2019, the Company had
$1.76 billion in total assets, $1.76 billion in total liabilities,
$57.50 million in total redeemable convertible preferred units, and
a total partners' deficit of $60.94 million.

                           *    *    *

As reported by the TCR on Feb. 13, 2019, Moody's Investors Service
downgraded StoneMor Partners L.P.'s Corporate Family rating to Caa2
from Caa1 and Probability of Default rating to Caa3-PD from
Caa1-PD.  The Caa2 CFR reflects Moody's concern that if pre-need
cemetery selling and liquidity pressures do not abate while the
senior secured credit facility is being refinanced, a distressed
exchange or other default event could become more likely.

As reported by the TCR on July 3, 2019, S&P Global Ratings affirmed
its 'CCC+' issuer credit rating on StoneMor Partners L.P.  The
outlook remains negative.  S&P said, "The rating affirmation
reflects our view that despite the removal of near term maturities
and sufficient liquidity over the next twelve months, we continue
to view StoneMor's capital structure as unsustainable in the long
term given our projection for persistent free cash flow deficits.


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Suspends Crude Blending & Cut Back Output
Marianna Parraga and Mircely Guanipa at Reuters report that
Venezuela's state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A.
(PDVSA) has suspended some crude blending and cut back production
as inventories have swelled and U.S. sanctions scare off buyers and
shippers, according to internal documents, sources and data.

Washington this year has imposed several rounds of sanctions on
PDVSA in an attempt to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro,
whose 2018 re-election was dismissed by the opposition and most
Western democracies as a sham, according to Reuters.

The measures banned U.S. firms from buying PDVSA's oil, depriving
Venezuela of its former top destination for exports, and frightened
other customers as U.S. officials also threatened foreign firms
with punishment if they "materially assist" Maduro's
administration, the report notes.

Reuters relates that the OPEC nation's crude inventories as a
result have risen sharply since late August to more than 38 million
barrels, the highest since early 2018, according to data
intelligence firm Kpler. Venezuela's crude storage capacity is
about 65 million barrels, but many tanks are inactive due to lack
of maintenance.

"Storage is almost at top capacity. We are just days ahead of being
forced to shut production at some eastern oilfields," a PDVSA
executive said, the report says.

PDVSA's portfolio of clients has shrunk, with Russia's Rosneft now
taking about two thirds of Venezuelan oil exports for reselling to
Asia, the report notes.  So far in September, PDVSA's loading
programs only show three customers: Rosneft, Spain's Repsol and
Cuba's Cubametales, the report discloses.

The sanctions have also reduced the number of tanker operators
willing to load in Venezuela, and left PDVSA with minimum access to
hard currency to pay contractors and suppliers, affecting output,
according to sources and internal documents detailing the state
company's struggles, the report says.

As of August, Venezuela's crude production was down 60% from
January to 979,400 barrels per day (bpd), according to unofficial
PDVSA figures seen by Reuters.  The nation's oil exports were
770,000 bpd last month and active rigs fell to 25, compared with 48
drilling units two years ago, the report relays.

                         Cutting Back

The Petropiar oil blending facility near the Jose terminal,
operated by PDVSA and U.S.-based Chevron Corp, suspended operations
last week, the report relays.  Production of extra heavy crude was
curtailed to half at the project's associated oilfield in the
Orinoco belt, according to one of the documents and sources with
knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity, the
report notes.

Chevron referred questions on its joint projects in Venezuela to
PDVSA.  The state-run firm did not reply to a request for comment.

The extra-heavy oil extracted from the Orinoco belt needs to be
mixed with lighter crudes to create exportable grades like
Venezuela's flagship Merey heavy crude, the report notes.

With Petropiar's blending operations halted, Merey production has
been slowed, the report discloses.  The neighboring Petrosinovensa
project, operated by PDVSA and China National Petroleum Corp
(CNPC), reduced output by 20,000 bpd, according to the same PDVSA

"Petropiar is out of service due to high inventories of Merey.
Petrosinovensa's plant one is in service, output adjusted to 72,000
bpd.  Plant two is re-circulating crude," it said, the report

Of the country's total stocks, 19.6 million barrels were at its
largest oil port -- the Jose terminal on the eastern coast --
waiting for vessels and customers, according to Kpler, Reuters

PDVSA recently switched its focus to Merey, helping it find new
customers in Asia amid sanctions, the report notes.  But it has
also caused a faster build-up of stocks in the country's east,
especially since CNPC stopped loading Venezuelan oil in August,
according to the sources and data, the report says.

                   Western Production Declines

Off the country's western coast, a handful of vessels have been
acting as floating storage for months, according to Refinitiv Eikon
data, the report relates.

"We currently have three tankers full of crude waiting for vessels
that would load through ship-to-ship operations. But the vessels
have not arrived," said an inspector from one of PDVSA's western
ports, the report notes.

Production had already slowed in Venezuela's western fields, but
the difficulty in finding vessels for exports added to inventories,
forcing PDVSA and its joint ventures to further reduce or suspend
output at oilfields including Tia Juana, Lagunillas, Bachaquero and
Boscan, according to sources familiar with the situation, the
report discloses.

"We don't have any more storage capacity for the 21 fields across
Zulia state.  We are producing about 140,000 bpd mostly to avoid
pipeline clogging," said a worker at the Maracaibo Lake,
Venezuela's second largest producing region, the report adds.

As reported in Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on June 3,
2019, Moody's Investors Service withdrew all the ratings of
Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. including the senior unsecured and
senior secured ratings due to insufficient information. At the time
of withdrawal, the ratings were C and the outlook was stable.

VENEZUELA: Guaido Quits Barbados Talks
The Latin America Herald Times reports that the leader of the
Venezuelan opposition Juan Guaido disclosed that he was abandoning
the dialogue with the regime that was being mediated by Norway and
held in Barbados after the South American country's embattled
incumbent Nicolas Maduro withdrew from the talks more than 40 days

The speaker of the Venezuelan National Assembly, who has been
recognized as the nation's interim president by over 50 countries,
accused the Maduro regime of acting in bad faith during the
negotiations in a bid to dodge additional sanctions, according to
The Latin America Herald Times.

"The dictatorial Maduro regime abandoned the negotiation process
with false excuses. After more than 40 days in which they have
refused to continue, we confirm that the Barbados mechanism is
finished," Guaido said in a statement posted on Twitter, the report

"The proposed solution that we presented with open-handedness and
awareness of the moment the nation is living through was left in
the hands of the mediators of the Kingdom of Norway and the
usurper's representatives," the statement added, the report

The report notes that Guaido had called on his followers to ratchet
up the pressure on Maduro's regime by taking to the streets.

On Aug. 7, Maduro announced his executive was walking away from the
Barbados negotiations because Guaido had "praised, promoted and
supported" the sanctions imposed by the United States government on
Venezuelan companies and high-ranking officials, the report

In early September, Maduro said he would resume his regime's
participation in the talks only if Guaido walked back his alleged
stance on a territorial dispute with neighboring Guyana, the report

According to Maduro, the opposition leader was willing to
"surrender" the oil-rich region of Essequibo -- whose sovereignty
has long been claimed by Venezuela -- to the Guyanese, the report

The South American nation is witnessing a peak in tensions in its
ongoing political crisis that exploded in January, when Maduro was
sworn in for another six-year term as chief executive after winning
the 2018 presidential elections with 67.8 percent of the vote, the
report notes.

The main opposition parties, as well as dozens of countries around
the world, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the election,
which they accused of being plagued with anti-democratic
irregularities, the report relays.

A couple of weeks after Maduro's second inauguration, Guaido swore
in as interim president, a move he justified via a new
interpretation of several articles of the Venezuelan constitution,
the report adds.

                        About Venezuela

Venezuela, officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a
country on the northern coast of South Ameri ca, consisting of a
continental landmass and a large number of small islands and islets
in the Caribbean sea.  The capital is the city of Caracas.

Hugo Chavez was president to Venezuela from 1999 to 2013.  The
Chavez presidency was plagued with challenges, which included a
2002 coup d'etat, a 2002 national strike and a 2004 recall
referendum.  Nicolas Maduro was elected president in 2013 after the
death of Chavez.  Maduro won a second term at the May 2018
Venezuela elections, but this result has been challenged by
countries including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Canada,
Germany, France and the United States who deemed it fraudulent and
moved to recognize Juan Guaido as president.

The presidencies of Chavez and Maduro have challenged Venezuela
with a socioeconomic and political crisis.  It is marked by
hyperinflation, climbing hunger, poverty, disease, crime and death
rates, social unrest, corruption and emigration from the country.

Standard and Poor's long- and short-term foreign currency sovereign
credit ratings for Venezuela stands at 'SD/D' (November 2017).

S&P's local currency sovereign credit ratings on the other hand are
'CCC-/C'. The May 2018 outlook on the long-term local currency
sovereign credit rating is negative, reflecting S&P's view that the
sovereign could miss a payment on its outstanding local currency
debt obligations or advance a distressed debt exchange operation,
equivalent to default.

Moody's credit rating (long term foreign and domestic issuer
ratings) for Venezuela was last set at C with stable outlook (March

Fitch's long term issuer default rating for Venezuela was last set
at RD (2017) and country ceiling was CC. Fitch, on June 27, 2019,
affirmed then withdrew the ratings due to the imposition of U.S.
sanctions on Venezuela.


S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America is a daily newsletter
co-published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless
Hills, Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Washington, D.C.,
USA, Marites O. Claro, Joy A. Agravante, Rousel Elaine T.
Fernandez, Julie Anne L. Toledo, Ivy B. Magdadaro, and Peter A.
Chapman, Editors.

Copyright 2019.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to
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delivered via e-mail.  Additional e-mail subscriptions for members
of the same firm for the term of the initial subscription or
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