Ramírez hits the big time


This profile of Rafael Ramírez and PDVSA in The Guardian is pretty interesting. When was the last time you read a glowing portrait of a chavista minister in a foreign publication? Don’t these people know that nobody is allowed to shine more than The Boss?

The money quote is actually the first paragraph:

“Rafael Ramírez should be ranked as one of the most powerful men in the world. As the Venezuelan minister for energy, he is also head of the country’s state oil company – and, therefore, now controls the world’s biggest proven oil reserves.”

You heard it folks. Ramírez, not Chávez, controls the world’s biggest oil reserves.

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  1. Yup Ramirez is the power behind the throne. I heard he is planning to wait until Chavez is weak, really down and out from the Chemo, then Ramirez will take the reigns of power and oust Chavez for good. Chavez should clean house and oust this guy he is obviously trying to supplant Chavez

  2. Ramirez powerful? Yeah, and Chavez a democrat. Only in The Guardian…

    It’s a puff piece. First Ramirez says that the paro caught them “in the fields, with the workers” and then says that “the sabotage” is what caused decrease in production. But were they not “in the fields. with the workers”?

    Then this: “Opec recently certified that the South American nation was number one in national reserves, after a vast field of what was previously classified as tar was redefined as extra heavy crude.”

    And this: “We established a fair price and gave unity to the market.”

    Propaganda de la buena, no?

    The money quote Juan, IMO, is this:

    “But the US department of geology has said that with our present technology we could actually extract close to 45%. That would be 511bn barrels – or oil for about 140 years.”

    Really? A department from the US sets the benchmark of what chavista PDVSA -with its ‘present technology’- can extract in the future?

    Powerful he ain’t. A fucking clown, that’s what Ramirez is.

    • Well, all you say it’s true, but it’s still notable that Ramirez feels empowered enough to lay that claim. Debe ser que el Loco esta grave.

  3. Yeah, he controls the World’s biggest oil reserves. So did the Captain General of Venezuela in 1810 (who wanted oil?), So did Cipriano Castro in 1908 (they did not know how to extract oil)…

    They are theoretically sitting on a mine of gold. Can they dig? Can they mine? Can they refine the ore? Can they increase the rate at which they do it? If we look at the answers in the recent past… the answer is NO, the opposite is true. Can they even bargain more or less wisely like Gomez and others that followed? NO again…

    And not by a long shot, can the BITUMEN (however they want to call it) in the Faja be ranked alongside the Saudi lighter oils, some of which are actually transparent.

    45% extraction? I might be a little rusty. That’s huge news for me, even for lighter oils. Would it be worth extracting all that BITUMEN and then selling it?

    This piece is utter hogwash. A puff piece would bring some accomplishments and extrapolate the future. What’s here to extrapolate is further decline.

    The only thing Ramirez is powerful, is as a key member of a decadent kleptocracy who has made a personal empire where he was supposed to be Hugo I’s mere satrap.

    • Ok, 35 to 45% recovery for secondary recovery techniques. The higher number is for lighter crude oils and more porous reservoirs. Then there’s tertiary recovery techniques.

      Of course, secondary and tertiary methods, reservoir characterization and management, don’t come cheap. They only happen if the price of crude oil (of BITUMEN in this case!) justifies it, not just now, but continuously and into the foreseeable future. And of course there’s the research to find alternative fuels that multiplies whenever there’s a hike of oil prices.

      “All of which should make Ramírez just as important a figure as the powerful Saudi oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, and make the country’s state oil company, PDVSA, a force to be reckoned with. But this is Chávez’s Venezuela and PDVSA is far more than an oil company.”

      And far less than that too!

      Let’s see, what does Al-Naimi command? 8.5 million barrels per day (bpd) production now of… lighter and thus wanted oils; and they have a production capability of 12.5 million bpd (wow!). A refining capability of 4 million bpd, a diverse clientele with whom the Saudis definitely don’t bicker or fight, stable production. As for Ramirez and PDVSA… yes, let’s give Rafael an ego boost…

  4. “Can they even bargain more or less wisely like Gomez and others that followed? NO again”
    Every deal Chavez has ever made is a bad one -bad for Venezuela,(Good for propping up a corrupt government in another country-Cuba, Nicaragua, for example) Good for Chinese, good for Russians, Belorussians, Iranians….

  5. trouble with leftists is that they don’t deal with reality. Neither Ramirez nor the Guardian angel that lovingly (profitably?) showcases him, delve into the costs of extraction of the tar = Xtra heavy crude, using current technology (20% extraction, or 45% if an uncited geologic report from the US government is to be believed).

    ironic that Ramirez should wax poetically on the increased capability of extraction, based on an unnamed geology report from the Imperio mesmo.

    In either case, the background analysis of Ramirez’ claim on the part of the Guardian journo is weak. As is to be expected from a rag with leftist sympathies.

  6. Well, Syd, that Virginia López is awful, as well as people still in “comments are free” (like Gott or Weissbrot) but I don’t think the Guardian is – globally speaking and not talking only about Venezuela- worse than the Washington Post when it comes to politics and economics. Both newspapers have good and bad journalists and contributors.

    Just one example: wacko Roger Noriega. That’s the same kind of rubbish, just one the “right” side.
    There are people like Rory Carrol who give a pretty decent view of what is happening in Venezuela.

  7. Venezuela-geographical area-a bit larger than Texas.
    Venezuela-a couple of million more people than Texas.
    But, Venezuela is not Texas. (Pablo Perez is not Rick Perry.)


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