Venezuela’s government published a joint venture agreement between PDVSA and Petropars, Iran’s state oil company, to pump crude from the Dobokubi field southeast of the town of El Tigre, Anzoategui. So far so good, no news here. So why am I laughing? I am laughing because PDVSA has bragged for years about how “the new joint venture model puts an end to international arbitration.” There has been a link with those words permanently on PDVSA’s press page for years.
But this new joint venture isn’t with Petropars’s headquarters in Tehran. It’s with a subsidiary called Petropars UK Ltd., “a company domiciled in the United Kingdom.”
Now why oh why would someone use a UK corporation to partner up with PDVSA? I mean hey, I know that Iran should protect itself. They have reason to worry that some other government in Venezuela will eventually want to abrogate the agreement. But it’s still funny to see how revolutionary brotherhood gets replaced by i-dotting, t-crossing legalisms — and dependence on the hated British justice system — when there’s cash at stake.