CItgo

The Citgo fire sale

Reuters is reporting that PDVSA wants to sell Citgo for $10 billion dollars – the equivalent of 8 months’ worth of the cost of the gasoline subsidy. “Investment bank Lazard Ltd (LAZ.N), which is running the sale process for Citgo on behalf of PDVSA, has sent offering materials to potential buyers, the people said, asking not to…

bell pottinger

Spinning the revolution

I had to do a double-take upon learning that PDVSA had hired Bell Pottinger, the PR firm run by Margaret Thatcher’s former communications director to “clean its image.” Of course, no comment from the revolution, so we have no idea how much they (we) are paying for this, nor for what purpose exactly. The part that stood out from…

ss-money-burning-daily-deals111-600x320

Notes on a common misconception about the gasoline subsidy [Updated]

Whoops. The gas subsidy still sucks, but this post was wrong. Explanation below.  Venezuelans have a hard time understanding the crazed extremes of mindless waste generated by our legendary gasoline subsidies. It’s not surprising: the policy is so multidimensionally insane, it’s hard to really take in all the different layers of destructiveness in one go.…

Zumaque

One hundred years of oil

Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of commercial oil production in Venezuela. On July 31st 1914, the Zumaque I oil well in Mene Grande, Zulia, became the country’s first oil well. In its initial years, the 135-meter deep well produced 264 barrels of oil per day. Zumaque I has been an eyewitness to many of the country’s most…

PDVSA

PDVSA’s sad third place

Every year, AméricaEconomía releases a ranking of the 500 largest companies from Latin America. This year, 5 of the 10 biggest companies in the region are part of the oil/natural gas industry. The semi-public Brazilian multinational energy company, PETROBRAS, came at number 1. And the Mexican state-owned petroleum company, PEMEX, came at number 2. Venezuela’s…

Oil Venezuela

The lost money in oil

Ramón Espinasa, former chief economist of PDVSA and currently a professor at Georgetown, published an outline of the oil industry fifteen years after Chávez was elected (here, in Spanish). I thought it contained interesting tidbits. For example: In 1998, each PDVSA employee was responsible for producing 83 barrels of oil per day on average. Today, it…