The secrecy around the ever dwindling gasoline production at PDVSA

January 2, 2007

It is truly ironic that Hugo Chavez and his cohorts used to make such a big deal about the lack of transparency at the country’s oil industry. In the “old” day of the bad IVth. Republic, financials were handed in on time, PDVSA sold its oil with no intermediaries, nobody questioned the country’s oil production and contracts and agreements were signed with prior approval of the National Assembly, called then Congress.

Not anymore…

Now, we have no clue as to how much oil production is, PDVSA now sells oil via intermediaries who have a profit margin known only to the men at the top, Ramirez and his cronies negotiate the country’s oil in secrecy and privacy and nobody knows what is happening to the country’s gasoline production.

It is more of an involution that a revolution…

As I reported earlier, the country’s gasoline consumption has now become a mystery. Veneconomy’s analysis of the 2005 financials as published n the local press by PDVSA are simply incomprehensible. Domestic consumption was supposed to be 506,000 barrels a day in 2005, up only 4% from 2001, despite the fact that some four hundred thousand cars cars were added to teh roads from 2002-2005. Even stranger, when you subtract exported gasoline from production, which should give you consumption in Venezuela, you get 281,000 barrels, suggesting that something very strange is going on in PDVSA’s numbers. Indeed, from those numbers, the only possible conclusion is that the country is now importing gasoline to satisfy it’s own needs as its refining capacity seems to be in real trouble.

Well, last Thursday, reporter Edgar Ang of Reuters reported that Venezuela simply paralyzed its exports of gasoline to the US in October, according to the data from that country’s Energy Information Administration. Ang reports that due to the operational problems at the country’s refineries no ships have been seen leaving for the US from Venezuela carrying gasoline, after September exports to the US were 480,000 barrels. According to the report Venezuela only exports gasoline to Caribbean countries.

In 2000, Venezuela’s exports of gasoline to the US reached 2 million barrels a month, but were below one million a month until the suspension in October.

The main problem seems to be with the Amuay refinery, which had to be stopped for two and a half months and is reportedly only producing a fifth of its capacity.

Thus, the “roja, rojita” PDVSA is not only incapable of producing sufficient gasoline to supply Venezuela, but higher margin exports have now been lost. But what is worse is that the ever dwindling gasoline production of the country is being treated as a state secret, much like the financial data of the country and the negotiations and information about oil and gas joint ventures. More remarkably, the local media seems to make no reports about it.

Another lie by the fake revolution.

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