This week, Chávez moved to nationalize Helvesa, a company that makes pipes for the oil sector, on grounds of “full petroleum sovereignty,” while at the same time starting the process to auction off rights over fields holding 62 billion barrels of extra heavy crude to foreign oil companies: a kind of “stealth apertura” with participants including BP, Chevron, ENI, Mitsui, Shell, StatoilHydro, Total, and Vinccler.
For chavistas, the pipelines are strategic. The oil they carry? Not so much…
And another thing: bizarre as the government’s actions are, the foreign oil companies baffle me even more. Some reaction from the Petroleumworld write-up:
After the presentation of the project, Petroleumworld talked to various CEOs of the local operations of the majors oil companies and they all were impressed with the project.
Wes Lohec, president of Chevron’s Venezuela told Petroleumworld “I think it looks to be very successful.”
“An outstanding project, we are looking to evaluating the data,” Luis Prado, president of Shell Venezuela told Petroleumworld.
Erm, ummm, Wes, Luis…how to put this delicately?…are you out of your fucking minds?!?
You’re going to sink a bunch of money into these projects and then you’re going to get expropriated…again!
It’s not even subtle what they’re doing.