By NAN Business Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. May 11, 2018: The big news on the business front this week in the Americas was that U.S. oil firm ConocoPhillips moved to take up the Caribbean assets of Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA to enforce a $2 billion arbitration award over a decade-oil nationalization of its projects in the South American country. So what’s the PDVSA and how is it linked to the Caribbean? Here are 8 fast facts:
1: PDVSA stands for Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. and is Venezuela’s state-owned oil and natural gas company founded on January 1, 1976 with the nationalization of the South American nation’s oil industry.
2: Since its founding, it has dominated the oil industry of Venezuela in exploration, production, refining and exporting oil, as well as exploration and production of natural gas.
3: In 2004, the Venezuelan government created Petrocaribe to promote energy cooperation and integration between Venezuela and a number of states in the Caribbean region.
4: This move helped Venezuela’s PDVSA begin to purchase assets and stakes in facilities through joint ventures (JV’s) in most Caribbean and Central American nations including Cuba, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.
5: It also participated in the construction of storage tank farms in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis and the distribution of gasoline or domestic gas through partnerships in Dominica.
6: Venezuela supplied the Petrocaribe member states with daily shipments of oil and products, offering payment facilities and discounts, with the ultimate goal of displacing U.S. and European oil companies throughout the region while promoting the socialist ideology in the zone.
7: Since Nicolas Maduro came to power after the death of Chavez, this mechanism has been losing steam as oil prices went down and the Venezuelan economy began collapsing. This has led to it gradually losing market share in the Caribbean, unable to sustain its diverse JV’s with Petrocaribe states.
8: Now is in danger of also losing its decades old facilities leased Isla refinery on the island of Curaçao and its fully owned BOPEC tank farm and terminal in Bonaire which is crucial for exports to China.
9: And despite having the largest non-conventional oil reserves in the world, Venezuela is fast becoming a less relevant oil producer and could see itself overtaken by its neighbor Guyana, where oil finds continue unabated.