Monthly Archives: March 2011

Pacific Rubiales ( responds — or does it?

This comment arrived. I think it may count as the first response from Pacific Rubiales to my e-mail of last week and my two blog posts of this week. Yes, the e-mail address listed is But according to WordPress’s IP-decoding software, the comment was posted from the domain “”. It’s hard to spoof a domain while making a blog comment, but possible, so I have no way to know if this comment actually came from Pacific Rubiales’ offices or not. If so, welcome to the conversation. I urge interested readers to go read the comments starting with this one, as I am dedicated to fairness and this may be Pacific Rubiales’s first response to this writer.

PRE staff: If the comment did not come from your offices, you should check your Internet security as someone is claiming to be you and using a IP spoof. That is a serious abuse, so you should look into it.

Pacific Rubiales ( Ignore problems, that makes them go away

Everything I ever needed to know I learned in business school

Reader and friend H sends a couple of morning notes from South American investment banks regarding Pacific Rubiales ( It’s clear that the company wants to communicate very clearly that its miss on production and reserves in 2010 is over and done with, and everything is now under control.

But as you’ll see as you read these notes, they don’t really talk about most of the items that I mentioned in my post Sunday.

The company waited until March to say its 2010 oil output missed the projection of 225,000 barrels a day. This after putting a presentation on the web as late as Feb. 3 saying that output in 2010 was 220,000 barrels a day. Any oil company should know its production every day. The issue here is not that they failed to fulfill their goal. That happens! The problem is that they either didn’t know their real production until after Feb. 3, or that they knew and didn’t tell the public. Either way, not so great, and worthy of a “we won’t do it again.”

Second, there’s nothing here about the insider trading questions. It would be one thing to say something simple like “Mr. Iacono routinely sells PRE shares to increase diversity in his portfolio.” But instead, the issue isn’t mentioned, as if that makes the questions go away. I don’t know if that’s the fault of the company or of the analysts at the meeting. But the point is this: Many millions of shares traded hands during a time when the insiders knew or should have known that the company had missed its output and reserves goals, while outsiders didn’t know. Millions of those shares were being sold by insiders. Someone at the company should really explain this.

By the way, still no word to this writer from Pacific Rubiales. Just in case, here’s an address you can use: The notes follow: Continue reading

Venezuela power cuts? You heard it here first

Just sayin. Me on Sunday:

It’s a big deal for Venezuelan electricity consumers, who have come to depend on natural-gas-fired power plants.

Reuters today:

Widespread power failures hit Venezuela this week, leaving eight states including oil-producer Zulia without light for hours and causing chaos on the Caracas metro in a new headache for President Hugo Chavez.

Several areas of the capital will suffer staggered cuts due to maintenance until Friday, the city’s state-owned power company said in a statement.

Hours-long blackouts hit eight states on Tuesday, as the main power station in Zulia failed after a suspected rebel bomb on a Colombian gas pipeline that feeds it.

As a result, power was cut in three states to ration supplies, Vice President Elias Jaua said late in the evening.

Venezuela ICSID arbitration cases stacking right up

While you were out:

Longreef Investments A.V.V. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
(ICSID Case No. ARB/11/5)
Subject Matter: Coffee production facilities

Crystallex International Corporation v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
(ICSID Case No. ARB(AF)/11/2)
Subject Matter: Mining company

That makes 16 “pending” arbitrations at ICSID against Venezuela, compared to 26 for first-place Argentina. GO VENEZUELA!

Oh and what is this?

Williams Cos Files Arbitration Seeking Venezuela Compensation

By Bradley Olson
March 29 (Bloomberg) — Williams Cos Inc. filed for international arbitration against Venezuela seeking compensation for two gas compression facilities expropriated in 2009, company spokesman Jeff Pounds, said today in an e-mail.
Williams filed for arbitration with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes on March 25, Pounds said. He declined to comment on how much the company is seeking in compensation.

17, baby. Keep it up. Continue reading

Another possible Colombia oil-environment fight

Photo from La Silla Vacia, taken by Camila Rivera

Reader and site friend CD points us to this story in the always fascinating Silla Vacia website about a brewing fight over Colombia’s offshore oil and natural gas exploration concessions. Long story short is they gave a concession that includes some pristine Caribbean islands, and there are people who aren’t happy about risking a Deepwater Horizon disaster in their neighborhood. A bit of the story, translated:

Providencia Island: The new Santurban?

After their first victory in Santurban, a new front is opened for the environmentalists: Providencia Island….

The Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos (ANH) in its 2010 Colombia Round of last June granted to Ecopetrol, in partnership with the Spanish company Repsol and the Argentine YPF, exploration rights to 944,000 hectares named Cayo 1 and another, of over 1 million hectares, known as Cayo 5. Both are located in the Caribbean Sea, near the archipelago along the Jamaican marine border (see map) where there is thought to be gas.

…[Environmentalists oppose exploration because] in their opinion, the granting violated not only environmental law but also the Constitution, as the ANH didn’t conduct a prior consultation with local indigenous groups…. corals… how to take advantage of bonanza mineral prices while continuing to be one of the most biodiverse countries in the world… this isn’t the Chilean desert…

Coralina has identified 407 species of fish, 48 of hard coral, 54 soft corals, two anemones, three jellyfish, 130 echinoderms (starfish and sea urchins), 37 types of mollusk and the same number of crustacean (lobster, crab and prawn), 38 types of sea urchins, five cetaceans (whales, killer whales, belugas), 157 bird species, three sea grasses, four mangroves, an endemic sea turtle. In total, Providencia Island has 192 species in the “red list” as being in danger of extinction.

OMG must visit…

Just noting that this issue of Colombia granting exploration rights before conducting environmental due diligence is nothing new.