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Who betrays PDVSA?

By Teodoro Petkoff | Tal Cual

26.05.05 | What hides between that entire supposedly nationalistic hullabaloo of Minister Rafael Ramirez? What are they trying to cover up with that rhetoric? It draws your attention that at the same time that they are accusing the so called “old PDVSA” (which obviously includes the PDVSA of Mandini, Ciavaldini and Lameda) of “treason to the nation”, in the “new” PDVSA plans prosper, that without any doubt, could provoke the collapse of the national oil industry.

It can’t be a coincidence that simultaneously they are working on the sale of Citgo, on the elimination of the production of Orimulsion and the ferocious questioning of the oil opening. These are three business areas of PDVSA that, if they are successful in the strategy that points towards their destruction, it will gravely affect our productive capacity and our presence in world markets. It can not be a coincidence that they want to get rid of a company like Citgo that seeing under the time horizon, which is characteristic of the oil industry, which is decades, insures a significant participation in the most important of world oil markets, which is that of the US. It can not be a coincidence that they want to liquidate the production of Orimulsion, a product with growing demand and of high profitability. It can not be a coincidence the questioning of the oil opening, whose companies produce today more than a million barrels a day, almost half the crude the country exports.

Who would benefit from the collapse or significant reduction of our oil production? Without any doubt, all of the members of the reduced club of oil producing countries. All market spaces that Venezuela abandons or loses will be rapidly occupied by other producers. The Arab countries, with whom we share OPEC, would not hesitate, however, to fill any holes that Venezuela opens.

Neither would Russia or Mexico. PEMEX would not be unhappy to take some of the yanqui market that today belongs to Venezuela. Neither would, for example, Saudi Arabia. It is simply a matter of competing for markets.

In the high commands of the “new” Pdvsa there are some people who have theorized about these matters. Juan Carlos Boue, a Mexican, previously a high chief at PEMEX and today with high responsibilities at PDVSA, and Bernard Mommer, today Vice-Minister of Energy and Oil, after a number of years of apprenticeship at the Oxford Petroleum Institute, financed by a number of Arab producers of crude, have written about these topics, providing theoretical arguments to get rid of the “bad business” that Citgo would be and to close the plants of Orimulsion.

Nevertheless, at the same time that we advance in the destruction of the businesses of PDVSA with false nationalistic arguments, the Government issued the Gas Bill, that hands over 100% of the exploitation of gaseous hydrocarbons to multinationals, on the basis of which, they have established themselves in the delta platform. While the decibels of the pseudo patriotic speech go up, we go back to the policy of concessions in the Gulf of Venezuela. Some thirty multinationals are fighting for the space.

Are these contradictory conducts and the shady negotiations that are behind them what Minister Ramirez wants to mystify with the hollow loudness of his speech yesterday?

Translation by Miguel Octavio

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