Monthly Archives: November 2011

Reuters: Venezuela pipeline to the Pacific

On again.:

After five hours of meetings between their delegations, Chavez and Santos also signed a dozen cooperation accords in oil, gas, trade and other sectors.

Among them was an agreement for Colombia’s state oil company Ecopetrol to join Venezuelan counterpart PDVSA in some mature field projects in Venezuela.

There was also a plan for a pipeline between Venezuela’s Orinoco belt, which has the world’s biggest crude reserves, and Colombia’s Pacific coast. “Wherever we’ve mentioned this, people’s eyes open wide,” Santos said.

Continue reading

Jim Cramer vs. Serafino Iacono: Who knows Colombia oil? (GXG,, EC)

Who do you trust for advice on Colombia oil stocks? Back on Feb. 10, you could have ” listened to Jim Cramer, Bloomberg, and many Colombian brokerages who were pawning off shares of newly listed oil companies onto the locals.

Here’s how a few Colombia oil stocks did in the year before that date. The blue shaded patch on the chart is a crude oil ETF, which basically shows the price of oil. (I grabbed these stocks somewhat arbitrarily — EC and are the biggest oil companies in Colombia, and AMER.l has been very active lately. The little juniors could be swapped, the results are unlikely to change much. Feel free to redo the chart yourself.)

Nice: Almost all of these stocks had beaten the raw material over a 1-year time period. The only one that was down was star-crossed Alange (now PetroMagdalena). How have these same companies done since then? Continue reading

2 Of These Things Are Not Like The Others of the day

Major Latin American currencies, 2-year chart:

I am no currencies expert, and surely there are a dozen or more regular readers who could explain this chart better than I could. So I’m just going to make a comment: Next time I hear a central banker say that there’s no way to control currency exchange rates (I’m lookin at you, Chile), I will have to show him (they’re always men, you notice) this chart. Argentina has taken a slower and more stable devaluation than most, but stable is nice when it comes to currencies. And Peru? Peru’s sol has strengthened in as straight a line as you’re going to get outside of Nazca. Impressive and odd.

Bullish for copper: Hairdressing

Chile exports a lot of copper. More than half its exports are copper. And just as the gringos always seeks new uses for soybeans and corn, Chile never ceases to invent new uses for copper. The latest is copper combs.

According to the supposedly reputable Santiago newspaper La Tercera, Mining Minister Hernan de Solminihac went yesterday to the lovely 19th-century barbershop PeluquerĂ­a Francesa and got a haircut that involved the use of a copper comb. Here he is, as shown in the paper:

Why the long face? It's a barber, not a dentist.

Continue reading

Reuters: Life is hard in the land of Pacific Rubiales

What’s up with everyone putting out good stuff on Thanksgiving? While you nibble leftover cranberries, read this long, detailed, and very well written article about life in and around the Rubiales field in Colombia. And give thanks that you, hopefully, are not doing 21-day shifts in an oilfield for $550. Yes, $550 a month — about 5 barrels of crude, or about 2.5 seconds of output at the Rubiales field.

“The workers are assigned to concentration camps,” said Sebastian Bedoya, 60, a pipeline worker who said his temporary contract was not renewed after the company discovered his union activism. “You have to get up at 3 in the morning if you want to get a shower. Otherwise the line is too long and you can’t make it to breakfast at 5.

“You know what’s the worst? The company calls us to start work on a certain day, and when we arrive they make us wait another three or four days before we can start.”

So they wait in Puerto Gaitan, crashing in cheap motels, their anger building as they question where the $50 million in royalties are being spent.

Go read.

Continue reading

Green beer? In Mexico?

Mmm beer.

The Interamerican Development Bank sent out a press release yesterday saying they would help finance Mexico’s biggest wind farm, a 392-megawatt installation. It will provide electricity to FEMSA (a bottler of soft drinks) and CCM-Heineken. Since the IADB cleverly sent the news on US thanksgiving day, you probably won’t hear about it elsewhere, so I’m just going to paste the statement after the jump.

(Now, let’s not talk about the relative efficiency of getting liquid refreshment from a factory-and-truck system versus getting it from a pipeline-and-tap system. This is happy Friday good news day.) Continue reading

Venezuela arbitration: domestic case going international?

I don’t know anything about this, but I see that Hortensia Margarita Shortt has filed for international arbitration against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela over something about maritime transport services. What appears to be interesting about it is her last name — Shortt is the last name associated with Zulia Towing and Barge, one of the Lake Maracaibo maritime companies nationalized in 2009. I wonder if that ostensibly domestic case has an international angle. In any case, Venezuela continues to chase down Argentina as the country with most ICSID arbitration cases.

Adding: Her linked-in profile says she’s a director of Zulia Towing & Barge and that she’s in Canada. So there you go.

Where to find the ridiculously rich in Latin America

Some outfit called Wealth-X claims to have come up with a guess of how many ridiculously rich people there are in each country in the world. (Ridiculously rich=net worth of more than USD$30 million) They have a special page on Latin America. The key chart is here:

There’s a little problem — Latin American countries range dramatically in population, so raw numbers show little. I did the math, using CIA factbook population figures, to see how these numbers look when turned into per-capita rates. And you see, Brazil isn’t so special after all. Continue reading