Colombia’s Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos finally awoke from its summer slumber (apparently in response to my bitchy tweet) and posted June oil & gas output on its website. As anyone watching the grim news from Colombia might have guessed, it’s not going so well. (Click for full-size graphic.)
You’d almost think that the FARC has decided, aww, screw it — we’re never going to topple capitalism, but by George, we can keep Colombia below a million barrels a day! Output has now been basically flat for a year.
Update, now that this screen isn’t being used to watch The Wall — I mean, the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics: here’s the year-over-year chart of oil output and gas sales. Click for full size. You’ll see that this month’s numbers show Colombia’s first year-on-year oil output decline since, well, since this spreadsheet started in 2007, anyway. A long frickin time.
Obviously the FARC are trying to fark up investments, especially in oil. It looks to me like they are pushing against a river.
Here’s Tom O’Donnell’s latest in MEES. He first goes into a very detailed analysis of each Iranian energy project in Venezuela. He shows that it’s mostly vaporware, or as we say in the former British Empire, vapourware. And then he looks at whether his findings have any bearing on the whole Iran-Venezuela TERROR-BE-SCARED line that continues to filter out of the US. I quote much here but do go click:
… unsubstantiated assumptions about the nature, scope and success of Iranian-Venezuelan joint ventures abound. According to these observers, Venezuela’s Bolivarian oil policy has facilitated Iran to create a significant Latin American “terror network,” often making claims about Hezbollah in this respect, or that Iranian Revolutionary Guards are providing training for the Colombia’s FARC guerrillas in Western Venezuela and “asymmetric warfare” training for the Venezuelan military. Others claim that Iran has been extracting uranium ore in Venezuela including in the guise of making cement, engaging in extensive money laundering, flying large quantities of contraband to Tehran on a (formerly) regular flight from Caracas, and, generally, preparing to counter any U.S. and/or Israeli attack on Iran by creating havoc in Latin America, perhaps even cutting off oil shipments to the U.S.
It is very difficult to prove or disprove such assertions, and there may be validity to some. However, great skepticism should pertain when on-the-ground evidence shows that, on the oil-and-gas front, which is the supposed forté of Venezuela and the central focus of President Chávez’ signature Bolivarian diplomacy, there has been a woeful and chronic inability by PDVSA to fulfill agreements with Petropars, the Iranian flag-bearer there.
Mmm, tasty morsel. Now go read the whole story.
PS: A special note to owners of websites that prefer to repost entire articles. This is how you cite something you like. Feel free to use this post as a model.
While some prefer to use partial figures from press releases, here at Setty’s Notebook we don’t let speed beat out completeness. Heck, we don’t let speed beat out anything — the next post is about figures released two months ago.
Anyway, the numbers published today by Colombia’s Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos shows that the high volatility in that country’s oil production continued in March. This time, it was a lurch to the upside in oil output, while natural gas sales fell to a 2-year low. Hard to know what that’s all about without looking at individual field data — gas sales can fall because the gas is being reinjected, or because fields are producing more oil per cubic meter of gas, or because production is falling. And the higher ratio of oil:gas is generally a good thing, as oil is selling for much more money than gas these days.
Colombia’s oil output (the blue line on the chart above) was rising steadily for years. Maybe too steadily. There were rumours that the pressure was on to make the mark of 1 million barrels a day, and that some companies were extracting oil too quickly, reducing the overall recoverability of oil in some fields. I don’t know if those rumours were true. I know what this chart shows. One is a very smooth, exponential rise in output that suddenly stopped last June. Did something happen last June?
There is also a strange lack of synchrony between oil & gas. The most obvious thing is that gas sales have been volatile, while oil output has risen steadily. Gas sales peaked at the beginning of 2010, while oil production kept rising. And in the past year, gas sales rose for several months without any corresponding increase in oil.
And then there’s the really obvious point: The blue line has yet to broach that million-barrels-a-day mark. I suppose this should have been predictable when Jim Cramer and everyone else started talking up Colombia a little over a year ago.
UPDATE: I knew I had seen someone else comment on Colombia’s failure to make 1 million barrels a day, and it turns out it was regular reader, commenter, linker, and all-around site pal Otto. A month ago. And my memory is failing me in my old age. Actually I can’t blame age. His page had a handy chart of the derivative, too, which is pretty cool, so go check it out.