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.

PS: These are harsh tales! Reuters can expect a defamation suit from Pacific Rubiales Chairman Serafino Iacono any minute. Good thing they didn’t mention that his base pay is equal to that of 200 roughnecks. And that this year he has supplemented that with $12 million selling Pacific Rubiales stock (1,826 years of the roughneck’s salary).


8 thoughts on “Reuters: Life is hard in the land of Pacific Rubiales

  1. Dr. Faustus

    Thanks for posting that. An excellent article. This may cause huge problems for Colombia’s nascent oil industry if the management at Pacific Rubiales don’t soon wake-up. It reminds one of 19th century England. You can’t treat workers like an expense on the company’s balance sheet. They are human beings. Even if the workers there are making double the minimum wage in Colombia, it still does not justify the indignities of those camps. Anyway, good stuff.

    1. sapitosetty Post author

      Thanks, Doc. What I find most remarkable is that nobody has pointed this stuff out before. You look at the analyst comment on this company and it’s always uniformly positive. People love to believe the positive happy story.

    2. .5mt

      You can’t treat workers like an expense on the company’s balance sheet. They are human beings.

      I disagree with the first sentence. Workers are ever a major expense, so it’s wise to treat them like human beings. Bringing in your most important input early and leaving it to fester in dives on their own dime is lunacy. I’ll bet that’s already an big expense in lost productivity.

  2. santiago

    In colombia the basic salary es less than 250 usd……so 550 usd is a lot compared with the salary of the vast majority of colombian people…..
    i think you dont have any idea of the conditions of the employment in colombia….that a lot of money compared to the salaries in this country…..

    1. sapitosetty Post author

      Hi, Santiago. Are you saying that won’t have any more labour troubles, because the guys working in the field are actually grateful for the generous wages?

      1. santiago

        in this country almost everyone cry about the salary….
        theres a quote here that say: ” el que no llora, no mama” its been always like that….this is not america, in this country the labor is always making noise with the help of the terrorist groups ant other ilegal organizations…

        i wonder if the people is grateful 100% with their salaries…..but im sure that a lot of people in this country would gladly work for that salary…
        its simple, you dont like your salary? resign.

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