PDVSA, Venezuela’s state oil company, spent $17.5 billion on capital investment last year, 32% more than it spent in 2010. The spending was lower than the goal of $18.4 billion it announced in July 2011, and much lower than the $31 billion it projected a year before that. Still, investment is investment — and it’s something that actually matters for a state oil company, unlike net income.
The investment plan has been pushed back again, as usual. See if you can spot the difference between these tables:
Well, enough about investments.
The company claims to be producing 3 million barrels a day of crude. The country’s own reports to OPEC give a lower figure (2.8 million in March, according to Platts). It’s like the guy who confesses an affair at church, and then goes home and lies to his wife. Really bizarre behaviour.
Natural gas output was 7.1 million cubic feet a day, with 2.9 million getting reinjected and 4.2 million available for consumption (gestion, p. 65). Meanwhile, PDVSA says it sold 1.5 million cubic feet a day of gas on the internal market (gestion, p 136). WTF?
Exports, domestic consumption
PDVSA says domestic consumption fell 4.2% to 646,000 barrels a day of products, mostly on reduced use of gasoline for motor vehicles. It may be true, I don’t know. Since so much of the consumption is contraband, it’s possible that the reduced availability of fuel along the Colombian border is paying off. Or maybe, with the end of the drought in 2010, hydroelectricity supply has become more stable, and companies are probably using fewer portable generators. The average price of liquid hydrocarbons in Venezuela in 2011 was $7.23 a barrel, about 93% less than the $100.11 average price for exported oil and products, and indeed lower than the official production cost of $7.53 a barrel (gestion p. 65). The weird part of that is that the domestic sales price supposedly doubled from $3.67 a year earlier, going back to the pre-devaluation 2009 level. Did PDVSA start charging more for fuel in 2011 and not tell anyone? WTF?
Natural gas consumption fell 17%, even as a power plant switched to gas from fuel oil. The average price of natural gas on the internal market was 88 US cents per standard thousand cubic feet — almost US$5 less than the price of buying the stuff in Colombia.
The report claims 225,000 barrels a day of oil shipments to “China.” It’s unclear whether that means, China the country, or China the owner of big oil companies that pick up Venezuelan crude and take it wherever they feel like. I am guessing the latter — it’s one of the better ways to make the numbers add up.
The good news
Hey, it’s not all bad news. The report came out the most promptly I’ve ever seen. I am betting that they were able to get this work done because Pres. Hugo Chávez has been busy dealing with cancer and hasn’t been calling up all the top executives to spend endless hours in meetings every few days, sending every accountant and lawyer to endless hours of rallies and hauling oil engineers off to pursue pet projects. Heck I think it’s been a good six months since PDVSA got a new mandate.
This may bode well for Venezuela’s fortunes. Maybe the state oil company is for once in a decade trying to produce oil in a safe manner rather than running around like a $100 billion a year presidential concierge.
For those of you who can be dicked with this sort of thing, here are the reports, all in PDF format in Spanish:
PDVSA 2011 informe de gestion
PDVSA 2011 social & environmental report
PDVSA 2011 financial report