- The EU-US “Oil Weapon”: Putin’s overtures to OPEC, China & Iran reveal desperation April 23, 2015
- The P5+1–Iran Deal: Obama’s Initial Challenge was to Rally EU-3 Allies to the Cause April 14, 2015
- “US Expert Perspectives on German Energy Vulnerabilities” – My AICGS/Washington Project April 6, 2015
- Paralyzed on Economic Reforms, Venezuela Will Mortgage Citgo [My Americas Quarterly analysis] February 5, 2015
- Oil Price Collaterals: Saudi strategy shakes Russia, Iran & Venezuela, but they’re not targets February 4, 2015
- [Spanish] Mi opinión en Petroquía: China se involucra en los principales proyectos de América Latina January 25, 2015
- Watch: Falling Oil Price & Geopolitics – Saudis & OPEC, Russia, USA, .. | My Real News Network interview December 8, 2014
- My IP JOURNAL article | EU’s “Stress Test” of a Russian gas cutoff: Official optimism? November 22, 2014
- “Venezuela: Petroleum, Politics & Economics in the Post-Chavez Era”–My Columbia U. talk, with Luiz Pinto, 9 October October 2, 2014
- “Oil & the US-Iran Crisis” – My talk at American University, Washington DC: September 30, 2014
- Estoy citado en “Dinero”: La caída en la acción de Ecopetrol de Colombia no se debe únicamente a los ataques guerrilleros September 13, 2014
- My IP Journal latest: “A firm US-EU partnership on Iran came at great cost, and made a deal possible” August 14, 2014
- I’m quoted in WSJ: Why sell Citgo? Cash for Ramirez’ PDVSA-recovery projects August 5, 2014
- My talk on Iran, NYC | After an Iran-USA deal: A Mideast without democracy, run by Iran & Saudi Arabia? May 31, 2014
- USA Oil Seminar 5.0 | USA as Rising Energy Superpower? May 15, 2014
- My IP Journal article | Addressing Europe’s Energy Dependence on Russia: Gas globalization? May 6, 2014
- USA Oil 3.0 | US energy experts on Europe, Russia & Ukraine April 29, 2014
- My AQ piece: Maduro’s Conundrum as UNASUR Starts Venezuelan Peace Talks April 12, 2014
- Venezuelan state’s economic response to protests: Rationing plus Chinese and Russian loans to float a liberal dollar market March 16, 2014
- My DGAP article | Energiewende vs. USA Shale Gas: Can German industry compete? January 22, 2014
- A new syllabus: The USA & the global oil system: The formation of American energy policy January 14, 2014
- Petrobras of Brazil v. Pdvsa of Venezuela – Reply to press interns in Sao Paulo December 1, 2013
- China y América Latina: ¿Quién gana y quién pierde? – Petroguía 2014 (Spanish) November 27, 2013
- For Obama, an Iran deal trumped Syrian aid: USA “core interests” are in “flow of energy” November 16, 2013
- Beijing ups Venezuelan oil investments, but refuses Chavista leaders’ plea for a cash bailout October 10, 2013
- DW in Spanish || Obama y Rouhani: ¿Llegarán a un acuerdo nuclear/petrolífero? October 3, 2013
- AQ Follow-up | Caracas & Maracaibo: Venezuela’s Private Sector Anxious to Invest if PDVSA Builds Confidence September 17, 2013
- My AS/COA piece: PDVSA Post-Chavez: Will Partnerships with the Private Sector and Chinese Experts Boost PDVSA Oil Production? August 29, 2013
- Competing with China in Latin America: Is Germany losing its high-tech advantage? August 20, 2013
- Can Obama & Rouhani End Iranian Nukes+Oil Crisis? – My Beijing press interviews in “Sanlian Lifeweek” August 8, 2013
- My talk: JFK Institute, Berlin: How “The Global Barrel” shapes Washington-EU relations June 8, 2013
- Why is Chinese production in Iraq booming, and in Venezuela lagging? June 4, 2013
- En Espanol: Venezuela’s “Tal Cual” on my al-Naimi post May 16, 2013
- Listening to Saudi Oil Minister Al Naimi at CISIS in Washington: Bad news for Venezuela & Iran? May 8, 2013
- NYC Lecture: THE LEGACY OF HUGO CHAVEZ: Is ‘Oil-Socialism’ a Sustainable Alternative Development? April 24, 2013
- “Tough Policy Choices Await Chavez Successor”- My viewpoint in Petroleum Intelligence Weekly March 16, 2013
- Did Iran release Abu Ghaith to show the USA its good faith in February nuclear negotiations? March 15, 2013
- Chavez’ Legacy for Venezuela’s poor & institutions: Watch my German TV News Interview March 9, 2013
- PDVSA Future Uncertain After Chavez – My views in “Platts” today March 8, 2013
- Hugo Chavez’ Death | I’ll be on Deutsche Welle news, live in Berlin March 6, 2013
- As Chavez’ oil alliance with China gets serious, Beijing holds PDVSA to its word February 18, 2013
- Succession Crisis #2: Chavez’ non-inauguration: Why violate the “Chavez Constitution”? January 9, 2013
- Venezuelan Succession Crisis? 1: Two men Chavez wants to succeed him December 14, 2012
- Problems of the Global Oil System: Why teach about oil? September 16, 2012
- Amuay refinery disaster: Syrian naphtha & Chavez’ “petroleum revolution” in flames August 30, 2012
- I’m cited: “(BN) Chavez Buys Enemy U.S.’s Fuel While Lauding Iran” July 11, 2012
- Venezuelan Faja Surprise: USA’s Harvest sells not to China but Indonesia June 23, 2012
- Iranian National Oil Company & PDVSA Respond to My Exposé?! June 14, 2012
- My Iran-in-Venezuelan-Oil Study: Summarized in “Tal Cual” today in Caracas; in Spanish May 21, 2012
- Bolivarian Venezuela’s Oil Policy & Iran: A Failed Energy Alliance May 18, 2012
Category Archives: Hugo Chávez
“Venezuela: Petroleum, Politics & Economics in the Post-Chavez Era”–My Columbia U. talk, with Luiz Pinto, 9 October
Last week, I was quoted in the Wall Street Journal on why Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) is looking to sell its Citgo refining affiliate in the USA. The key motivation, in my estimation, is to finance projects critical to … Continue reading
Here’s my commentary at Americas Quarterly today, 11 April:
A delegation of foreign ministers from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) returned to Caracas on April 7 and 8, securing an agreement to hold peace talks to calm political polarization and protests in Venezuela. The talks are being mediated by the foreign ministers of Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador, plus a Vatican representative.
The UNASUR delegation first visited in late March, recommending that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and leaders of the opposition’s Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD) enter into a dialogue. The U.S. State Department had expressed support, as had Organization of American States (OAS) General Secretary José Miguel Insulza.
However, UNASUR’s plan will be complicated by Maduro’s reliance on paramilitaries within his Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (United Socialist Party of Venezuela—PSUV), whose loyalty requires his polarizing words and deeds. This conundrum already wrecked a previous dialogue.
Venezuelan state’s economic response to protests: Rationing plus Chinese and Russian loans to float a liberal dollar market
As protests continue against Venezuela’s faltering “oil revolution,” the political strategy of the chavista administration is striking for its intransigence. President Maduro has refused to recognize any grievances by students or other protesters. He calls protesters “fascists” and blames them for all the ills of the economy. Protests are attacked by the national guard and often by state-organized paramilitary gangs on motorcycles who are praised by the president.
The administration’s strategy so far appears to be that protests will burn themselves out if they can be delegitimized and contained within middle-class areas. Accordingly, the president’s rhetoric aims at inciting poorer citizens against protesters. All in all, this is a risky strategy. Protests have constantly intensified, with perhaps 25 persons dead now.
After a month of protests, the administration has taken urgent economic measures it hopes will undermine the protests and prevent their spread to poor and working-class barrios.
1. Ramirez announces Chinese and Russian loans and the launch of a very liberal Sicad 2
I had a pleasant exchange with an intern – in the end a class of interns – at the Brazilian newspaper “O Estado de São Paulo” a couple of weeks ago. The questions were insightful. I tried to answer in an informative and direct manner. Indeed, things are not going well at Petrobras lately, and looking at the politics of Pdvsa and Petrobras next to one another is a useful exercise. Here’s the interview.
1) Do you agree that PDVSA and Petrobras have both had political mishaps in their administrations? Why?
Yes. Hugo Chavez used Pdvsa as the “goose that lays the golden eggs.” However, he took so much from Pdvsa — especially to support his frequent election campaigns, before each of which he increased public spending to win votes — that the “goose” has been left to starve.
Chavez’ revolution was, in his own words, an “oil revolution” and “oil socialism.” However, he did not understand how to run the national oil company. While he distributed largess from the country’s oil wealth to the poor, he was incapable of introducing a new, higher productivity of labor in Venezuelan society, which is what any real social revolution requires for success. He left the country in a very dangerous situation with a shortage of foreign exchange. If the price of oil falls further due to a US & EU accord with Iran and/or an improvement in the oil production situation in Libya, and Iraq, then Venezuela will face a deep crisis.
Petrobras too, under Lula, began to be viewed as a cash cow after it discovered the pre-salt. As a president. Lula was much more competent organizationally and in economic matters than Hugo Chavez. However, Continue reading
Back in April, Brazil’s Folha de SaoPaulo ran an article entitled: “The Future of Venezuela Depends on China“ and highlighted this quote: Translation: “If Maduzo wins, he’ll have to regain the confidence of the Chinese.” TOM O’DONNELL, petroleum consultant
Indeed, it is now clear that the short-term strategy of the post-Chavez Maduro-Cabello administration was to escape the country’s severe dollar crisis: convincing Beijing to extend it a $5 billion cash loan alleviating food-import shortages before 8 December elections. In particular, the cash was to fund a new dollar exchange system (see El Nacional,25 Sept 2013). Continue reading
AQ Follow-up | Caracas & Maracaibo: Venezuela’s Private Sector Anxious to Invest if PDVSA Builds Confidence
Americas Quarterly today carries a followup that to my 29 August piece on Post-Chavez changes at PDVSA.
NOTE: During the past couple weeks, while in Maracaibo and Caracas, I was repeatedly told of a new offshore payment mechanism that PDVSA has begun offering to its Joint Venture foreign partners. Venezuelan private sector leaders took credit for the general idea. Continue reading