Photo: EFE, retrieved

Reuter’s Alexandra Ulmer and Marianna Parraga have disconcerting scoop on the detention of two Chevron employees in Venezuela.  

According to the piece, Venezuelan intelligence agents arrested two employees of mixed company Petriopar in Anzoátegui State (Petropiar is a joint venture between PDVSA and Chevron, where PDVSA has 70% and Chevron 30%):

Venezuelan intelligence agents arrested the two Venezuelan executives at the Petropiar joint venture in the coastal city of Puerto La Cruz on Monday for alleged wrongdoing, two sources in the oil industry told Reuters. One of the detainees, Carlos Luis Algarra, is a refining expert who Chevron drafted from their Argentina operations, a third source said.

One of the detainees, Carlos Luis Algarra, is a refining expert who Chevron drafted from their Argentina operations

Chevron confirmed the arrests to Reuters through an email:

“Chevron Global Technology Services Company is aware that two of its Venezuelan-based employees have been arrested by local authorities on April 16th, 2018. We have contacted the local authorities to understand the basis of the detention and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of these employees. Our legal team is evaluating the situation and working towards the timely release of these employees,” the company said.

Alexandra and Marianna report that the arrests are probably related to the suicidal purge started by PDVSA president, Manuel Quevedo:

Venezuela arrested two Chevron Corp CVX.N employees, the U.S. oil major said on Tuesday, in what appeared to be the first arrests of a foreign oil company’s direct employees during a purge of alleged graft in the OPEC nation.

It’s difficult to explain these baffling arrests. PDVSA’s production is in a nosedive. Quevedo’s appointment (an army-man completely inexperienced in the oil business) has only contributed to the drop and to massive resignations that are strangling the company.

By setting this precedent, chavismo discourages any investment from its partners in other joint ventures

Instead of facing the obvious and changing course, the government is doubling down on the removal of any civilian with a modicum of knowledge of how an oil company works. Perhaps the decades spent belittling the value of education and technical knowledge has made it impossible for chavismo to figure out how to run anything, from oil to passports.

By setting this precedent, chavismo discourages any investment from its partners in other joint ventures. It’ll probably start a brain drain from qualified employees on other mixed companies, who are PDVSA’s only hope for stopping the production drop.

There’s no sugarcoating this, chavismo will annihilate PDVSA and our economy, unless there’s a regime change.

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Moshiri is gone and Clay met with Maduro in September. There’s probably something else going on such as these two being fingered by those in detention. Would not discount grand plan to turn projects and facilities to Ruskies

    • Makes a kind of sense. Rosneft would want to grab something still in working order, not one of PDVSA’s basket cases.

    • Maybe payback for US sanctions? Also, as the country unravels and pdvsa sinks there may be maneuvering for post madurismo..

      The chavistas would love to have all gringos gone because they block, or at least hinder, the blatant corruption, protected employees from politics where possible, protected the environment, enforced safety, planned and performed maintenance, paid contractors and sevice companies before paying parent companies, etc. The f’ing chavistas just hated us. As I wrote previously, if chavez had not seized control of the strategic joint ventures (now EM’s) in May 2007 the country would be be producing +5 million barrels a day, +3 million net to Venezuela, and be DEBT FREE! Dream what that would look like today?

  2. Filthy Bolivarian vultures, disgusting salivating hyenas and voracious piranhas fighting for the last rotten pieces of PDVSA’s carcass. Kleptozuela at its best: cachicamo llamando a morrocoy conchudo.

  3. They are poking the bear in hopes he will attack. They need Mr. POTUS to help them finish writing the narrative of foreign intervention.

  4. I can’t believe the reports I’m reading of the massive exodus of PDVSA employees…at all levels…since Quevedo took over. I mean, it was bad before, but it’s now beyond ridiculous.

    I think I was wrong about commenting on the benefits of a U.S. embargo, and those who stated it just isn’t necessary, that PDVSA will shortly collapse anyway. (You guys know who you are, so posting your “I told you so” here is entirely justified.)

    I mean, the shortages are even starting for VZ, where they’re paying $80 and up for diluting, and not just giving it away to VZers, but taking a huge loss.

    Wow. I’m not expecting any outrage from VZers when they can’t get gas…outrage seems to be out of style now…but it’s going to be hysterical to witness.

    Like Cuba, going back to the donkey and cart.

    • “Wow. I’m not expecting any outrage from VZers when they can’t get gas…outrage seems to be out of style now…but it’s going to be hysterical to witness.”

      Ira, gasoline and diesel are not in short supply. Functioning cars, trucks, 18 wheelers, buses, etc, are another story.

  5. I’m waiting for them to blame the drop in production on the iguanas and a drought. Or pigeons and a flood.

    Take your choice.

    • I’ll take “Iguanas and drought” for $800.

      Socialism has left death, misery, disaster, and brutal, murderous dictatorships everywhere it goes. You’d figure that people would catch on, sooner or later – and they have, in Russia and China and Vietnam – but it has taken more than a century.

  6. I wouldnt totally discount that the two Chevron employees might have been involved in some shady business, they are working not inside a Chevron organization but an entity which is part owned by Chevron and mayority controlled by Pdvsa ……if you put a clean person to swim inside a cesspool there is always the chance that they will get fouled up . What makes people act honestly is not just their personal character and upbringing but the environment and work culture they inhabit …….., on the other hand have heard from people in Pdvsa that much of the new military management is acting as a kind of paroxistic crime squad looking for delinquents under the bed , behind the doors with true persecutory zeal . Of course if you look hard enough you will find what you want to find even if it isnt there….!!

    • I have the impression that the moment you have any responsability at all in getting something to work on Venezuela, that means you are breaking laws day after day. Everything to getting your supplies in time to get some officer to stamp your paperwork needs you to break some law.

      • Thats probably a very fair comment on the status of day to day business in Venezuela , the system is so messed up with impossible to meet govt measures and requirements that just to keep things running a certain measure of rule breaking becomes necessary. govt bodies themselves resort to massive violations of their own rules to avoid shutting down , One highly reputed oil industry head of the former Pdvsa once declared that if every govt regulation was strictly complied with the whole country would stop functioning , this is a cultural thing noted by Carlos Rangel that while in Latam laws tended to be very strict and ambitious but practically unenforceable in the US laws tended to be less strict and ambitious but were very strictly enforced , it goes back to the old spanish colonial maxim ‘the kings rule is revered but not obeyed’….. Worse thing possible when very zealous govt officials want to make believe that the rules are all capable of practical enforcement …!!

        • the system is so messed up with impossible to meet govt measures and requirements that just to keep things running a certain measure of rule breaking becomes necessary. govt bodies themselves resort to massive violations of their own rules to avoid shutting down.
          From what I have read of managers managing enterprises in the Soviet Union, keeping the enterprises functioning could not be done without breaking the rules. This was rather problematic when Stalin was in power.

          this is a cultural thing noted by Carlos Rangel that while in Latam laws tended to be very strict and ambitious but practically unenforceable in the US laws tended to be less strict and ambitious but were very strictly enforced .
          Carlos Rangel- the gift that keeps on giving.

    • “Of course if you look hard enough you will find what you want to find even if it isnt there….!!”

      Show me the man, I’ll show you the crime.

      We have our own version of that in the States right now.

      • Lavrentiy Beria! By the way, I had a chance to see the movie “The Death of Stalin” a couple of weeks ago. It’s a brutal parody of the soviets, no wonder the movie was banned in Russia!

  7. Thats probably a very fair comment on the status of day to day business in Venezuela , the system is so messed up with impossible to meet govt measures and requirements that just to keep things running a certain measure of rule breaking becomes necessary. govt bodies themselves resort to massive violations of their own rules to avoid shutting down , One highly reputed oil industry head of the former Pdvsa once declared that if every govt regulation was strictly complied with the whole country would stop functioning , this is a cultural thing noted by Carlos Rangel that while in Latam laws tended to be very strict and ambitious but practically unenforceable in the US laws tended to be less strict and ambitious but were very strictly enforced , it goes back to the old spanish colonial maxim ‘the kings rule is revered but not obeyed’….. Worse thing possible when very zealous govt officials want to make believe that the rules are all capable of practical enforcement …!!

  8. Wrote previously that the IOC’s did not tolerate corruption, much less abusing employees, sexual harrasment, etc. within the joint ventures. PDVSA assignees were promptly removed for infractions of JV polices… that is until May 1 2007. When pdvsa took control the corruption, abuse started and has only gotten worse over past 11 years. To date it is not tolerated with IOC employees within the EM’s. but they have no influence over the corrupt chavistas.

    Mr Bass and Fandino, while I respect your opions and your many posts, you are likely wrong about these men. Personally know one of them, good honest family man, good career, making a good living in $US. Your speculation does no one any good., but only hurts these two who are already in a world of hurt.

    The reason for their abduction by the regime, ordered by the militarry head of pdvsa, is mich more sinister, as are all things chavista.

    • Hey… I havent said anything about those men. I dont know them, and I dont have any idea if they are “guilty” or not or of what. And given who is accusing them, I’m more than inclined to think them innocent of any real wrongdoing. “Real” being the important part. I’m more inclined to believe what you say of them that anything coming from the government.

      All I’m saying is that is extremely easy for the authorities to fuck up the life of whoever they want because they have created an environment in which to survive, day by day, you almost sure broke some of their idiotic, unrealistic, stupid, self-defeating “control” measures. Hell, half of the time the reason you broke their laws is that the authority inspecting you for compliance tells you to do it for him or he will report you… and it doesnt matter one bit if you are absolutely innocent of what he charges you. Are you going to risk it? He can make your life hell for a long time before any other authority, if they want, comes up and say “actually, you are innocent, you can go away.

      • True Fandino, my apologies. But Mr Bass still impugned with no evidence. On second reading (too fast 1st time) you are correct.

        Had a friend who was required to order equipment to meet production plan, but under new Bariven control he couldn’t without complete new bid process if not in existng contract. Simply, to even to buy a single bolt required months of ”evaluation “. He got fed up, bought the equipment by changing the name of a bolt to a nut in PO (vendor knew and wanted to sell the bolt), equipment arrived in time and production met plan. pdvsa blew a gasket because he delivered on time and in budget and removed them from EM. I always believed bariven was an opposition group looking to strangle pdvsa, but turns out they’re just ignorant and corrupt.

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