- My TRT TV | Biden’s Nord Stream 2 sanction waiver: Merkel’s price for unity before his Putin summit June 12, 2021
- My EuroNews: Why didn’t Biden sanction Nord Steam 2 AG or German firms? The Biden-Putin Summit. Berlin-Moscow gas-alliance kills US climate partnership. May 20, 2021
- My Wikistrat Analysis: Erdogan reminded of Turkey’s dependence on NATO/USA by Biden’s recognition of Armenia genocide May 4, 2021
- My Op-Ed | Die Ukraine als „Zentralbank“ für europäische Energie | Ukraine as “Central Bank” for European Energy April 8, 2021
- China & Russia stick with Venezuela’s Maduro for the same reason the USA stuck with S. Viet Nam [My Energy Analytics Institute Q&A] February 21, 2021
- Could Nord Stream 2 be axed? My guest appearance on Roundtable -TRT TV, London February 21, 2021
- I tell DW TV: Nord Stream 2 is geopolitical. Berlin & Moscow aim to reroute Russia-to-EU gas around “insecure” Ukraine. February 21, 2021
- The FT quotes my critique on: “German green foundation joins efforts to complete Nord Stream 2” February 8, 2021
- Deutsche Welle News live: Will Nord Stream 2 ever be completed? January 20, 2021
- My interviews: Tagesspiegel & Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ). Nord Stream 2 won’t avoid US sanctions using a phony “environmental foundation.” January 20, 2021
- My EuroNews #3: US Sanctions killing Nord Stream 2. Yet Berlin persists trying, with Moscow. January 7, 2021
- My EuroNews Q&A: All German parties back Nord Stream 2 except Greens; USA says it frees Putin to subvert Ukraine & Belarus December 9, 2020
- My Al Jazeera comments: OPEC+ strikes delicate balance as UAE & Russia defy Saudis December 7, 2020
- My EuroNews live interview: Contrary to Moscow’s disinformation & bravado, Nord Stream 2 pipeline is dead. December 4, 2020
- Nord Stream 2: Berlin-Washington Mutual Intransigence Shows Transatlantic Divide on Russia | My AICGS Analysis October 10, 2020
- EE UU v. Alemania: Sanciones y el oleoducto ruso Nord Stream 2 | Fui invitado en “El Fundo” de DW TV August 16, 2020
- I’m quoted by the FT | “Germany warns new US sanctions endanger Nord Stream 2 pipeline. (As) serious interference in European sovereignty” July 3, 2020
- My interview: on US troops redeployed in Germany & Poland | O’Donnell: Żołnierze u granic Rosji to sygnał dla Kremla [Wywiad] July 1, 2020
- Will Germany decide to unfreeze relations with Russia after the pandemic? Czy Niemcy zdecydują się na odmrożenie relacji z Rosją po pandemii? [My interview] May 9, 2020
- Oil Price War 3: My AlJazeera spot on negative price, Putin’s rout, shale, and Trump’s dilemma: independents v big oil April 26, 2020
- Decoding the Oil Price War 2: My Wikistrat webinar “Oil Price War & COVID Crisis” transcript April 14, 2020
- Decoding the Oil Price War 1: Moscow seized COVID crisis to hit US shale, force sanctions relief April 9, 2020
- Europe’s Gas Crunch: The Pending Crisis Around Nordstream 2 & Ukraine Transit June 6, 2019
- Washington interviews: Energy Relations of Russia, Germany, Poland & Ukraine (Kennan Fellow) June 2, 2019
- Venezuelan transition? My analysis on Germany’s DW TV | Videos: español & English March 1, 2019
- Germany backs small-scale LNG import terminals despite opposition [my King’s College/EUCERS paper] August 29, 2018
- Germany’s Real LNG Policy [My BPJ analysis] July 4, 2018
- Putin’s OPEC tactics: Iran sanctions and the Saudis [IBD cites me] June 18, 2018
- A Comment on: “A Trans-Atlantic Manifesto in Times of Trump – A German Perspective,” by foreign policy experts October 12, 2017
- China’s big NOCs slash prices to take market from private oil refiners ~ I’m quoted in “China Oil Week” July 31, 2017
- “Neue Neue Ostpolitik” My BPJ piece on German fury at Senate NS2 sanctions July 3, 2017
- Trump’s promise to “stay totally independent” of OPEC is populist hype [My IBD interview] January 3, 2017
- Putin’s new OPEC role reflects the toll of low oil prices on Russia [IBD quotes me] December 9, 2016
- My CNNMoney quote & 3 points: OPEC v shale, Russia’s new role & Trump-buddy Hamm is pro Saudi price band December 3, 2016
- An Oil-Price War´s Surprise Ending -My BPJ article on OPEC, Shale, Trump, Market & Geopolitics November 30, 2016
- Saudi & Russia seek oil deal as OPEC fight v US shale fails [My RTRadio Interview] November 21, 2016
- Post-election reading list: Trump’s foreign policy portends “world crisis” November 9, 2016
- Bolivarian Venezuela in crisis: An oil-rich nation collapses? Berlin, 10 October October 3, 2016
- Pipe Dream? Polish ruling complicates Nord Stream 2 pipeline for Gazprom & EU partners [My Berlin Policy Journal piece] September 26, 2016
- “Energy independence” won’t free the USA from global oil market & geopolitics [I’m cited: CNNMoney] August 12, 2016
- How fast can Libyan oil recover? (I’m quoted by CNN) July 21, 2016
- New US tech squeezing oilfields & rivals [IBD quotes me] June 18, 2016
- What’s keeping foreign oil firms out of Iran? IRG? [CNNMoney quotes me] June 17, 2016
- IBD News cites me: OPEC Oil Production Ceiling Reported On Table June 2, 2016
- Don’t write off American oil boom despite OPEC – CNNMoney cites my analysis June 1, 2016
- Latin American Oil: Beijing Still Lending, But for How Long? – I’m quoted by Energy Compass May 31, 2016
- Wikistrat Report “Saudi Arabia & the Future of Oil” cites my views May 29, 2016
- I’m quoted by MarketWatch: Five key issues for OPEC’s June meet May 27, 2016
- Falling oil price & Saudi strategy: My Sky News interview (London) February 12, 2016
- My AQ piece: “Russia Is Beating China to Venezuela’s Oil Fields” February 4, 2016
Category Archives: Chavez
“Venezuela: Petroleum, Politics & Economics in the Post-Chavez Era”–My Columbia U. talk, with Luiz Pinto, 9 October
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
[English readers: This post is an analysis I did in Spanish for Petroguía 2014 – the annual hard-copy guide for the LatAm petroleum sector – of China’s oil and gas investments in LatAm and the Carribean. For Beijing’s other investments, or a presentation, etc. drop me a line. ]
NOTA: La siguiente es mi análisis publicado en Petroguía 2014, la guía anual para el sector petrolífero latinoamericano. Soy agradecido a los directores del Petroguía por haberme permitido publicar el artículo aquí. El artículo es una resumen de una investigación que hizo sobre todas las inversiones de China en Latino américa. Si tienen interés en una reportaje o presentación detallada, por favor contactarme.
China y América Latina: ¿Quién gana y quién pierde?
Sumario. El mercado de hidrocarburos ya no está en el norte de América sino hacia el este, y la mejor estrategia de intercambio con esa plaza la lleva Brasil, mientras que Venezuela y Argentina están a la zaga.
Por Thomas W. O’Donnell
El petróleo y el gas que exportará América Latina en las décadas venideras irán mayormente a China y otras partes de Asia. Y eso es por el efecto combinado de menores necesidades de energía importada en Estados Unidos, gracias a la utilización de los nuevos métodos de fractura hidráulica (fracking) que produce cada vez más petróleo liviano, y por el tope que ha alcanzado su demanda doméstica. 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
My AS/COA piece: PDVSA Post-Chavez: Will Partnerships with the Private Sector and Chinese Experts Boost PDVSA Oil Production?
Throughout 2012, and especially after President Hugo Chávez’ death in early March 2013, Venezuela’s national oil firm, Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), has taken measures beyond anything done in the past decade to raise its lagging production. While the likely impact merits cautious analysis, the drivers of the Bolivarian Republic’s scramble for increased oil revenues are clear. … Continue reading
[Updated/edited 5 June] The New York Times had an interesting article: “China is reaping biggest benefits of Iraqi oil boom” on June 2, 2013. The question that comes to mind is …
Why is Chinese production in Iraq booming, and in Venezuela lagging?
As late as 2007 and 2008, China clearly intended its investments in Venezuela to be its largest anywhere, to ramp up development of Venezuela’s huge Faja Orinoco extra-heavy oil reserves. In those years, Iraq was still mired in sectarian war. Yet, here we are in 2013, with Chinese production in Iraq surging and its companies’ production in Venezuela lagging. Why? Let’s first look at the Chinese relationship and logic in Iraq, then in Venezuela.
Geostrategic interests behind profit issue
The NYT article says that Chinese success in Iraq is largely because their oil companies aren’t especially interested in profits because they don’t have to answer to investors demanding higher returns; they just want to secure oil to bring home.
Yes, but one should see that this is also strongly a geostrategic imperative for Beijing. It is true Chinese firms can get along with lower profits, and they also have much more cash than others, which also helps them get in now at small profits for the long run. However, unlike other firms, they are under specific instructions by Beijing to persist at getting into countries with huge reserves like Iraq and Venezuela because it is in the geostrategic energy interests of Beijing to do so.
Chinese geostrategic motivations to stick in Iraq (and Venezuela)
Before examining the better situation, on the ground, for Chinese firms dealing with Baghdad as verses Caracas, it is important to recognize Beijing won’t ever give up on either state. Beijing is the one power having serious reservations about too much reliance on the US/Saudi-dominated “global barrel” market-and-security system. It is the only major power (aside from Russia) with aspirations to project power against the USA and its naval carrier fleets, at least in its near-home waters. For any such confrontation of any duration, it needs to have a certain significant percentage of oil brought directly home independent of the USA and the global market the USA dominates. So, China’s energy firms tend to blend their deepening integration into global oil-market processes with old-fashioned bi-lateral mercantilist relationships with producing states like Iraq and Venezuela. (See also the Addenda below.)
Different contractual and working relationships in Iraq and Venezuela
Chinese firms are clearly more willing to work with the difficult resource-nationalistic conditions imposed by the Iraqi and Venezuelan states. However, in many ways Iraq’s are more difficult, yet Chinese–and many others–do better getting production going in Iraqi than Venezuela. Why? Continue reading
I’m invited to deliver a public lecture Wednesday, 24 April, at 3:30 in New York City at The New School University‘s Graduate International Affairs. This will be a critical examination of the legacy of Hugo Chavez’ “oil socialism” as an “alternative developmental model” for Latin America. Continue reading