Light posting continues, but here is a quick roundup of stories you may have missed:
PDVSA says its Lake Maracaibo oil leak is just 8 barrels a day. Or is it 8,000? Someone is mishearing something somewhere.
A leaked poll of Venezuelan public opinion finds that raising gasoline prices is even less popular than converting the country to socialism. (See page 33.)
Clean diesel comes to Medellin, Colombia, causing grave concern for makers of childhood asthma medicine.
Venezuela electricity figures are offline. The CNG, which runs the web site at OPSIS.ORG.VE, say it’s just a server problem, and not the Obama-esque new secrecy decree.
Before the site went down, some of us grabbed the May data, which showed that diesel consumption in power plants grew to 74,000 barrels a day, 28 percent higher than a year earlier. The opportunity cost of burning diesel fell to $6.31 million a day from $6.41 million a day in April, as Gulf Coast diesel prices fell. What, you want a pretty picture?
When the last data was provided June 21, Guri Lake was filling at an average of almost a foot a day. If these rains keep up, the authorities will have to open the floodgates before the end of the rainy season. And weather forecasts from IRI keep getting rainier.
Non-energy item: Something weird happened with the Mercer cost of living survey this year. Caracas fell from the 15th most expensive city worldwide down into the middle of the pack, at #100. I’m guessing that the nice people at Mercer realized they didn’t have to convert local prices at the official exchange rate — not only don’t you convert at the old 2.15 a dollar, but you don’t convert at the new 4.3 either. Convert at a black market rate and Caracas becomes manageable. As long as you’re not trying to buy a country club membership. Does that say 900,000 bolivars? Why yes it does.
While the world waits for Chile’s oil company, ENAP, to privatize some shares a la Ecopetrol and Petrobras, the government prefers to shift the company from one ministry to another and sell some bonds.
Did I say bonds? Oh yeah, Citgo sold a much reduced number of bonds, just $300 million rather than $1.5 billion. It got another $1.8 billion from banks. The general idea remains the same as I previously reported: they got earlier creditors to accept a higher debt-capital ratio, and they are still mortgaging the refining business and accounts receivable in return for the loans.
PDVSA got a new syndicated credit for $1.5 billion from Chinese and Portuguese state banks. Year-end 2009 debt report available here if you’re feeling wonky.
Petrovietnam will pay $584 million to PDVSA to start up a joint venture to pump oil from the Junin 2 block of the Orinoco Belt. Ah, and to think it was just a year ago that a big Vietnamese delegation visited and was given badges that identified them as coming from “Vietnab.” And didn’t PDVSA just recently pull out of the joint venture refinery project in Vietnam, which would have secured the investment. Oh well. First thing you learn is you always gotta wait.
In other news: men kick balls.