• Thu. Nov 24th, 2022

Venezuela’s chaotic energy industry – Odessa American

ByStephanie M. Akbar

Sep 25, 2022

The most dangerous oil and natural gas producing country in the world is Venezuela, where K&R “kidnap and ransom” insurance is a necessity if you absolutely have to go there.

Water Society President Steve Coffee of San Diego, Calif., who was there in late 2015 and early 2016, said it was the most difficult experience of his life.

“It was the only place I felt I shouldn’t be, because I knew it wasn’t safe,” said Coffee, who has worked in 37 countries on the issue of contaminated water used for hydraulic fracturing.

“At one time Venezuela was the 12th largest producer in the world with 2.5 million barrels a day, but now they’ve gone down to 400,000, and I don’t know how they even get that much,” he said. . “A few companies are still there like Chevron and the Spanish company Repsol, but it’s hard to talk about investing money because the train is derailing.”

Coffee said a friend from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, who was in Venezuela recently, said conditions had worsened, with kidnappings, murders and other violent crimes being commonplace, not just in Caracas but everywhere.

“It’s a bad situation with the political environment and the failure of the government,” he said. “People are starving. They cannot afford food or water to drink. It’s truly sad.”

Listing the next most dangerous oil countries he worked in, Coffee said Venezuela makes Mexico and Nigeria, where he also had K&R insurance and armed guards to protect him, seem relatively benign.

On its website, the Chevron Corp. claims to have worked in Venezuela since the discovery of the Boscan field in the 1920s. “Today we are involved in five on-shore and off-shore production projects in the country,” the company said.

“Chevron is working in partnership with subsidiaries of Petróleos de Venezuela, the national oil company, in four joint ventures in western and eastern Venezuela.

“Three of them are heavy or extra-heavy crude oil projects.”

Chevron has undertaken an extensive program to help average Venezuelans with their health, education and economic development. “Since 2007, our social investment contributions have totaled more than $108 million,” the company’s website says.

“Chevron is implementing social investment projects in four of Venezuela’s five states that were identified as priority areas for basic human needs by the 2019 United Nations Humanitarian Response Plan for Venezuela.

“Every year, 45,000 Venezuelans directly benefit from Chevron programs. In 2019 and 2020, we invested $5 million in programs selected in consultation with various local and international organizations,” the company website states.

Coffee said a major cause of the crushing poverty is the government of President Nicolas Maduro of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, which has held power since the death of President Hugo Chavez in 2013.

“One of the reasons for the unrest is probably that all the money is in the hands of a very small group of people,” he said. “It’s a corrupt system that’s much worse than Mexico’s. I worked in the San Tome area of ​​central Venezuela and it was a long and bumpy ride to get there.

Asked how an American stays out of trouble there, Coffee said, “By knowing the hotspots, traveling with the locals, and staying very low key. You can avoid being kidnapped if you do this. Kidnapping is a big money-making machine, and it’s the big threat to Americans. Many companies specialize in K&R insurance.

Coffee said Venezuela’s energy industry was “overshadowed” by everything that was going on.

“It’s very concerning, and they’re obviously going to have to figure that out for their people,” he said. “My friend from Calgary didn’t know when I asked him, ‘Will it take a decade?’

“I don’t know how you get over this kind of trouble and turmoil.”

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