From the Editors of VenEconomy
Rafael Ramírez, the perennial Minister of Energy and Oil and president of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), is one of the Chávez administration’s most active officials in the fibs factory.
Ramírez is known for inflating oil production and export figures, so much so that it is already impossible to compare the government’s official figures with those published by the International Energy Agency and OPEC.
However, Ramírez’s claims have been refuted by analysts of renown, such as Gustavo Coronel and Diego González, with documentary evidence in hand.
Now, Eddy Ramírez, an oil man who has spent many years in the industry, has also challenged many of the claims made by Rafael Ramírez during his rendering of accounts before the National Assembly.
Ramírez (the oilman) maintains that Ramírez (PDVSA’s president) was lying when he said:
- That PDVSA’s workers were responsible for the absurd decision to invest some US$500 million from their pension fund in a hedge fund in Connecticut. Untrue! The fact is that decisions regarding the pension fund are the responsibility of PDVSA’s financial director and have to be approved by the company’s board of directors.
- That the 20,000 plus workers who were fired in March 2003 had “sabotaged” the oil company’s operations during the December 2002-March 2003 national strike. False! The fact is that PDVSA refused those workers access to the facilities so preventing them from doing their jobs from December 8, 2002.
- That now PDVSA is publishing its financial statements on its web page. A half truth! The report of PDVSA’s financial statements for the third quarter of 2010 published on the company’s web page (a) is incomplete; (b) was published late; and (c) was posted only in English. The truth is that the “old” PDVSA used to publish accurate, compete reports on time and in both Spanish and English.
- That the current subsidized oil prices are costing PDVSA around US$1.5 billion a year. A whopper! The loss for selling fuel below the cost of production is in the region of US$6 billion.
- That PDVSA’s total financial debt was US$24.9 billion as at September 30, 2010, compared to US$21.4 billion at the end of 2009. Bull! The minister failed to mention in his report the US$9.1 billion of new debt issued by PDVSA in the fourth quarter of 2010 and at the start of 2011.
Minister, no matter how many times you repeat it, none of this will come true!VenEconomy has been a leading provider of consultancy on financial, political and economic data in Venezuela since 1982.
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