The Aban Pearl Stew


Remember the sinking of the Aban Pearl exploration rig off the coast of Sucre State back in April 2010?

Turns out there was a massive corruption guiso behind it: PDVSA was paying $730,000 a day to rent a rig that normally costs $358,000 per day.

Take it away, Coronel,

Aban Pearl was contracted by PDVSA to an intermediary company, not to its owner. This is, in the best of cases, inefficient and a potential cause of corruption. Second, that the barge was contracted to the intermediary company by an amount of money that seems to be twice as large as that paid to the owner, suggesting that a considerable amount of money remained in the pockets of this intermediary company. Three, that the intermediary company formed in Singapore and owned by a Panamanian registered company was incorporated solely for the purposes of this transaction and received the contract from PDVSA without bidding. Four,  that the Panamanian company owning the Singapore intermediary company has a capital of only $10,000, totally insufficient to be responsible for a $1.3 Billion contract. Five, that the owners of the company contracting with PDVSA were established contractors of PDVSA in Venezuela.

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  1. Hmm … I have no reason to doubt Mr. Coronel, but exactly what is new about this story? The basics sound very much like what was being reported even before or around the time it sank.

      • I have spent most of my adult productive life working in the US in large multinational (and profitable) businesses. The people that run those businesses (Director, VP level execs) are extremely smart and work their asses off every day of their lives to get to a point where they make $300-400k a year.

        In Venezuela you can make that in a day by taking the time to incorporate a couple of companies in Panama & Singapore and knowing the right guy.

    • For anyone that’s interested, the aban pearl pulled into Trinidad on it’s way to Venezuela for repairs and almost sunk. It was an ugly old platform – probably a miracle it made it this far.


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