I heartily recommend Tom O’Donnell’s “The Global Barrel,” a blog full of smart, very well informed thinking on the oil industry, especially as it relates to Venezuela and China. This is the kind of stuff we are very lucky to get for free on the internet. Unlike many people who spend their days opining about Venezuela, O’Donnell has actually lived there, spending a couple years there recently and then returning for a visit that just ended in August. He is a US academic, and while he has his opinions, you can see that they follow the facts, rather than preceding them. A few recent tidbits:
The lead of his very long, detailed, 3-part article on Venezuela-China oil relations:
In my travels and interviews in Venezuela this summer, it became clear that there has been a major advance in the relationship between China and the Bolivarian administration of President Chavez. China’s dogged persistence and large state-sponsored investments in Venezuela – apparently the largest they’ve made to date in any country – are finally beginning to bear fruit. The new Chinese influence is being simultaneously extended to both oil and non-oil sectors.
and lower down:
Contrary to the superficial vision from afar of long-time major access by China to Venezuelan oil, in fact, over the past eleven-to-twelve years, its much publicized largess in grants and loans most definitely had NOT resulted in the sort of major oil production contracts China was seeking. The commercial results have been nowhere near what one would expect. In my experience, and that of colleagues or contacts actively involved in the Venezuelan oil sector throughout the Chavista years, Chinese national oil company executives have quite consistently expressed consternation at their inability to close on the big deals they had expected President Chavez to bestow on their companies.
You get the idea. If you’re one of the many readers here who is very interested in Venezuelan oil and oil policy, regardless of your politics, you will do yourself a favor by reading his website. Go, go, go.