The oilman who came in from the cold

Just wanted to know who's in charge
Just wanted to know who’s in charge

A friend from Washington writes about this bit of seriously unreported news: Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil giant and one of the Kremlin’s most powerful people, was in Caracas recently, pledging $1.1 billion to “develop” Venezuela’s oil and gas fields (i.e., to give cash-strapped Venezuela a lifeline, now that the Chinese have said no to more handouts).

Here is the Moscow Times prior to the visit, and after the visit. Here is the Russiapedia profile of the guy.

In 2009, Forbes described our good friend and business partner like this:

He’s been depicted as Darth Vader in the Russian press and described as “the scariest person on Earth.” Igor Sechin’s official title is deputy prime minister, but within Russia, many consider him the most powerful individual in the country after Vladimir Putin. (Yes–that means he’s more influential than the president.)

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  1. I read the news a few days ago, if I recall correctly, the amount represents less than 10% of the capital needed for the project. I wonder where the rest of the money will come from. Additionally, I believe that Rosneft does get a significant share with this investment.

  2. Juan, Yes, he was the KGB’s Latin America man! So he knows the region and the reality of Venezuela and of Chavez’ administration quite well.

    This deal is an interesting blend of geopolitics (messing in the US backyard in a way that the Chinese would not dare to) though to not much great effect, facilitation of arms deals (in the past, it seems that a large signing bonus to PDVSA went right back to paying past-due arms bills in Russia), and some actual interest in oil and gas production.

  3. So, the Russians have stepped~in to save Chavismo. Amazing. It’s kinda like the Havana Conference of 1946 with Lucky Luciano sliding an envelope of cash across the table to Meyer Lansky. Lucky wanted a piece of the Las Vegas action as well. Mobsters helping fellow mobsters in their business endeavors. Warms the heart. Igor Sechin may be the ‘Darth Vader’ of Russian politics, but the real source of evil in Russian politics is Vladimir Putin. Take the time to read Masha Gessen’s biography of this guy. It’s worth the time. Vladimir Putin, a street thug from the suburbs of Leningrad to the Presidency of Russia for almost 14 years. According to Gessen, …a killer, a sociopath. All those 14 years Putin was strutting side~by~side with another political megalomaniac in South America. Both refusing to get off the world stage. Read some of the facts concerning this brotherhood of political mobsters in the Daily Telegraph. But, read the book!

  4. I saw this in several articles earlier in the week, but simply interpreted it as another way for the cash-strapped PDVSA to extort, err, I mean obtain capital for projects it otherwise couldn’t fund. After all, along with the Chinese, who else is such a BFF to the freedom loving peoples of the Venezuelan republic? Certainly not the capitalist running dogs of El Norte, da tovarisch?

    Far more interesting to me was this little jewel which made international headlines:

    Given the timing of the check, written prior to January 21…how pissed do you think that the Iranians would have been when, after clearing internationally which typically takes a 2-4 weeks, that their check would have been worth 32% less than at the time it was written? Fun thing about negotiable instruments like a check…they pay out at face value from the issuing bank, not necessarily what would have been credited to the account by the receiving bank..

    Now that’s being a friend and ally in the ongoing fight against the imperialist Western powers..

    • Is there a SINGLE house which is confirmed to have been built by Iran, yet alone thousands? Was the entire payment just Chavez way of propping up the Iranian regime and nuclear program?

      If these sweetheart international deals have not broken ground yet, I doubt they ever will. Iran, Belorussia and so forth know the game is up, without the promise of future deals they have no reason to not simply steal the any money still stuck in bolivar sin valor.

  5. oh yeah when this guy comes to your town, you’ll notice statues of Mother Mary crying blood. This gives the creeps in a whole new level.


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