Quito´s reality check on Doha

Sometimes you just have to tell it like it is. That´s what Colombian energy minister María Lorena Gutiérrez has done in the run-up to a 17 April meeting of oil producers in Doha.

A global oil production freeze aspired by Venezuela, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar is “happening naturally,” so Colombia is “looking for other measures to stabilize oil prices,” Gutiérrez noted after a meeting of Latin American oil producers in Quito last week.

Ecuador, Opec´s smallest member, summoned Latin America´s oil producers to coordinate a regional stance on the freeze proposal that will be discussed by more than a dozen producers in Doha.  Continue reading

What´s in a name?

Two of the world´s largest known oil deposits boast the names of late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva. The thinking goes, these are the towering figures who showered the wealth of their countries´ abundant natural resources on the people. Their deteriorating economic and political legacies now speak otherwise.

The rechristening of the Faja del Orinoco last year as the Hugo Chavez Frías Orinoco Oil Belt has not been accompanied by the massive investment needed to tap the vast extra-heavy crude belt that forms the backbone of the Opec country´s ambitious production growth plans. Even before oil prices started tumbling in 2014, state-owned oil company PdV didn´t have enough capital to pay for its share of the development. The naphtha and light crude needed to move the viscous resource to market renders the Faja a costly and complicated endeavor. Continue reading