VIO News Blog

June 9, 2009

Venezuela Continues to Pay Debt Owed to Oil Service Providers

Filed under: Daily News Roundup — VenWorld @ 1:09 pm

The Dow Jones Newswire reports today that Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA has paid close to half of the outstanding debt owed to service providers since last year. Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez announced that the debt, which has now been reduced to $7.5 billion, will be fully paid by the end of this year. Ramirez also said that, though more oil-service providers would be taken over by PDVSA, there were no plans to nationalize drill operators as they aren’t seen as exercising a monopoly within their sector of activity.

In other energy news, Brazilian President Lula da Silva said that he was “optimistic” that a long-delayed agreement between Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras and PDVSA would be finalized within 90 days. Presidents Lula and Chavez agreed last year to joint ownership of a refinery in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco that is set to refine 200,000 b/d ofVenezuelan and Brazilian crude. However, talks broke down between the two state firms over the price that will be paid for Venezuelan crude among other issues.

Following a month-long registration drive, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has increased its membership to 6.7 million members, according to party vice-president Aristobulo Isturiz. 40% of the more than one million new members of the pro-Chavez party are under the age of 26, Isturiz told the press. Meanwhile, close to a dozen opposition parties announced the creation of a political alliance called “Democratic Unity Roundtable” that will attempt to form common strategies to address a host of political and social issues. Venezuela’s opposition movement has long been plagued by internal divisions and alliances formed between its key players have tended to unravel rapidly.

The president of Peru, Alan Garcia, has suggested that the governments of Venezuela and Bolivia have played a role in deadly clashes between indigenous protesters and police in Peru’s northern jungle. The embattled leader has provided no evidence of any sort of link between these governments and the protest movement whose demands are focused on repealing a series of decrees that will allegedly result in the exploitation of indigenous lands by logging and oil companies. The decrees were issued by Garcia in order to pave the way for the implementation of a free trade agreement with the U.S. that has been touted as a model by the Obama administration.

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