Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Venezuela sends oil drills to Bolivia, Ecuador; fails to meet domestic target

An "important operational emergency" took place in state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) exactly one year ago, as revealed Pdvsa's Vice-President of Exploration and Production Luis Vierma in the National Assembly. Such statements resulted in sharp criticism against the top officials of the Venezuelan oil giant.

The lack of enough drills and rigs available for rental in foreign markets and delayed delivery of the units manufactured by Chinese companies seriously hit Pdvsa. Subsequently, the conglomerate announced the "nationalization" of 41 drills that had been outsourced, mainly in the western region of the country.

According to the figures mentioned by Vierma, the best scenario for Pdvsa was to pass from 112 to 121 drills by the end of 2007 -compared to a goal of 191 drills set in the company's business plan-. Subsequently, Pdvsa was to add other 53 units that would be bid in the first quarter of 2008.

Vierma, however, surprised the media some weeks ago, when he announced that the country had nearly 180 active units, a number which represents an increase of 50 percent in less than 6 months. Nevertheless, the figure meets neither the goal of 198 units set for 2008 under Pdvsa's Oil Sowing Plan nor the peak of 205 units established for 2010.

The operational emergency that affected Pdvsa last year and the difficulties it has faced amidst low supply of drills and high costs have not prevented the solidarity of President Hugo Chávez, who decided to transfer several drill to countries such as Ecuador and Bolivia.

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El Universal, Venezuela