Some lose ends

April 26, 2005


–While the Venezuelan Government continues to say that
CITGO’s refineries in the
US
are losing money, Valero Energy will become the largest
US
refiner in the
US
with
its purchase
for US$ 6.9 billion of refiner Premcor., whose stock has
doubled in the last year. According to analysts these transactions are talking
place because refiners are “swimming in cash”. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan
Government dismisses this
report
,
in which a former executive says he resigned because it was hard to
“keep track of the company’s cash flow”. Maybe its hard to swim in cash
and keep track of it at the same time.  And in another article, it
is shown how Chavez
has named his cronies
to work at CITGO and they have no experience or even a clue
about the business. The problem is that rather than swimming in cash, CITGO appears
to be badly mismanaged at a time that it should be making huge profits. If oil
prices should drop, imagine what would happen! I wonder if this is why they call it “La Revolucion Bonita”. Or is
it because the children of revolutionary oil executives drive $200,000 cars?

–Japanese oil company Teikoku, said that the increase
in taxes for the marginal oil field projects would make it impossible to make a
profit from the fields it runs. The company said it would need to receive incentives
from the Venezuelan Government in order to continue the projects.

–On Chavez’s Sunday’s program Alo President, Chavez
said that among the evidence that the
US
is planning an invasion of
Venezuela
was the fact that a
US
woman was caught photographing a military installation. Chavez also said that “several
other Americans” were caught taking pictures of oil installations. The
US
Ambassador in
Venezuela
said that to their knowledge no American woman has been detained in
Venezuela
in recent months. He did say that a
US
woman enlisted in the military lost her purse in
Maracay,
where there are military installations. Her purse had a disposable camera. I
guess the invasion will be low tech.

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