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COLOMBIA, VENEZUELA FORM $200M FUND TO BOOST TRADE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 25, 2009

Sunday January 25, 2009

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR’ (Malaysia)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR’ (Malaysia)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, COLOMBIA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MACROECONOMY, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

OIL PRODUCER CUTS OUTPUT AFTER OPEC CALL (Venezuela)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 8, 2009

1:30PM Thursday Jan 08, 2009

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD’

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD’

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, OPEC, PETROL, RECESSION, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

VENEZUELA SLASHES US DOLLAR QUOTA – THE VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT HAS CUT THE OFFICIAL NUMBER OF DOLLARS VENEZUELANS CAN SPEND ABROAD WITH THEIR CREDIT CARDS FROM $5,000 TO $2,500 A YEAR

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 2, 2009

10:55 GMT, Thursday, 1 January 2009

BBC News

PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS’ (UK)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS’ (UK)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, CURRENCIES, DOLLAR (USA), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, INTERNATIONAL, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STATE TARIFFS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

NEGOCIAÇÕES ENTRE PETROBRAS E ESTATAL VENEZUELANA PARA REFINARIA AVANÇAM (Brazil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 23, 2008

22/12/2008 – 21:42

Agência Brasil

PUBLISHED BY ‘CORREIO BRAZILIENSE’ (Brasil)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CORREIO BRAZILIENSE’ (Brasil)

Posted in A QUESTÃO ENERGÉTICA, BRASIL, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, FOREIGN POLICIES, GASOLINE, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, O PODER EXECUTIVO FEDERAL, PETRÓLEO, PETROL, POLÍTICA EXTERNA - BRASIL, PROGRAMA DE ACELERAÇÃO DO CRESCIMENTO (PAC), RECESSION, REFINERIES - PETROL/BIOFUELS, RELAÇÕES COMERCIAIS INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES DIPLOMÁTICAS - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

BRAZIL CONGRESS OKS VENEZUELA IN MERCOSUR

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 20, 2008

Thu, Dec. 18, 2008

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘PHILLY’ (USA)

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Posted in BRASIL, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MACROECONOMY, PETROL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

VENEZUELA, RUSSIA SAY OIL PRICES MUST STABILISE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 27, 2008

Posted to the web on: 27 November 2008

Sapa-AP

CARACAS – Venezuela will support Opec oil production cuts until prices increase, Oil Minister Venezuela's Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez speaks with the media in Caracas, Feb. 8, 2008Rafael Ramirez said yesterday.

During a visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, he said Venezuela will support Opec production cuts of 1-million-barrels per day at Opec’s upcoming meeting on Saturday. But if new cuts are not enough to increase prices, “we will keep cutting until the market stabilises,” he said.

President Hugo Chavez has said he’s proposing Opec countries consider setting a price range for oil to stabilise the global market.

“Let’s look for a band between $80 and $100; we’re thinking about that,” Chavez said Monday.

“We think that price would be a fair price for oil.” Venezuela is a founding member of Opec, which cut production by 1,5-million-barrels per day last month to boost prices.

While Russia is not an Opec member, Chavez has often spoken of the necessity to strengthen relations between Opec and Russia. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev did not respond directly when asked if he would support Chavez’s price band, but said Russia wants “just and stable” oil prices.

“These don’t need to be really low or really high” he said through an interpreter. In Nymex trading, prices for light, sweet crude for January delivery rose slightly to settle at $54,44 a barrel yesterday. Oil prices have recently fallen to a third of their July value.

Among other things, yesterday’s prices were affected by speculation that Russia – one the world’s largest crude producers – may join Opec in output cuts, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said in New Delhi on Tuesday, Press Trust of India news agency reported.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘BUSINESS DAY’ (South Africa)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FOREIGN POLICIES, FUELS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, OPEC, PETROL, RECESSION, REFINERIES - PETROL/BIOFUELS, RUSSIA, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

IN LATIN AMERICA, MEDVEDEV WILL TAKE FIGHT TO US DOORSTEP

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 21, 2008

11/20/2008

MOSCOW — President Dmitry Medvedev embarks this week on a Latin American tour crafted to slake MEDVEDEV'S LATIN TOURRussia’s thirst for respect as a serious global power and carry its message of US defiance to Washington’s doorstep.

Medvedev’s four-nation trip kicks off Friday in Peru, where he will meet at the weekend with leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, including outgoing US President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The Kremlin leader then heads to Brazil to meet its leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva before traveling to Venezuela, whose maverick President Hugo Chavez is famous for his virulent broadsides against Washington.

For the grand finale, Medvedev rounds off his tour in Cuba, the flagship Cold War ally of the Soviet Union during the Cold War and the United States’ communist arch-foe in the western hemisphere since the late 1950s.

The Russian navy, keen to prove that reports of its death a decade ago were exaggerated, will flex its muscles under Washington’s nose by conducting joint maneuvers with Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea, officials said.

The extensive trip expands a Cold War-era strategy revived by Medvedev’s mentor Vladimir Putin of raising Russia’s profile globally and taking rivalry with the United States to Washington’s doorstep in Latin America, analysts said.

But it also comes as Russia has taken a battering in the global economic crisis, while calls by the new Kremlin leader for a reshaping of international financial and military structures have met little response.

The tour will demonstrate Russia’s “increasing interest in expanding its global influence, particularly on the continent Washington believes to be a traditional sphere of American influence,” said Yevgeny Volk, Moscow representative of the US Heritage Foundation, a research center.

In comments to RIA Novosti on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted Russian ties with South America and the Caribbean region were not aimed at “third countries” — a clear reference to the United States.

But Russian media have portrayed the naval exercises and recent Russian air force exercises in Venezuela as a direct response to US plans to extend a missile shield close to Russian borders in central Europe.

Venezuela’s purchase of a slew of Russian weapons have already prompted concern on the part of neighboring Colombia and the United States about the dangers of a South American arms race.

Russia’s Kommersant newspaper has reported that negotiations will be pursued during Medvedev’s visit on new Venezuelan arms purchases from Russia, possibly including air defense systems and fighter jets.

His visit to Cuba is sure to revive memories of Cold War rivalry, although the daily Kommersant reported in August that Cuba had reacted badly to Russian suggestions the island might host Russian bomber planes.

Hailing warm bilateral relations this month, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said that defense ties with Russia were aimed at “reinforcing the defensive potential of Cuba.”

Amid the Russian-US tensions, Medvedev’s encounter with Bush in Peru may prove chilly.

Moscow has all but written off coming to terms with the outgoing US administration on its missile defense plans, which Washington insists do not threaten Russia and are directed against “rogue states” such as Iran.

As well as pursuing military ties, Medvedev’s tour is sure to be aimed at expanding economic ties with South America, where Russian energy firms Gazprom, Lukoil and the British-Russian joint venture TNK-BP have been pushing projects in Venezuela.

But analysts remain sceptical about Russia’s goals in both Latin America and Asia.

Melbourne-based Asia specialist Damien Kingsbury said that Russia, despite its vast territory in the far east, was not seen as a significant Asian power and had damaged its cause by its military surge into Georgia in August.

Russia’s alliance with China remains “short-term”, said Kingsbury, of Deakin University, adding that after the August war, “states in the Asia-Pacific region would view Russia with a degree more caution.”

Reflecting on Russia’s dependence on energy exports to finance its ambitions, Volk concluded: “With the decrease in oil prices it will be much more difficult for Russia to play the role of superpower.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY TRIBUNE’ (Philippines)

Posted in BRASIL, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CUBA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LATIN AMERICA, PERU, RUSSIA, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

OPEC REDUX: RESPONDING TO THE RUSSIAN-IRANIAN GAS CARTEL

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Published: November 14, 2008

Ariel Cohen (Middle East Times) by Ariel Cohen (Middle East Times) (*)

MOSCOW – Steadily and stealthily, a natural gas cartel has emerged over the last seven years. On Ariel Cohen, the usually obnoxious 'scarecrow' with a PhD ...Oct. 21 in Tehran, the Gas Exporting Countries’ Forum (GECF) agreed to form a troika which will direct the future cartel. Russia, Iran, and Qatar announced they will form a yet-unnamed group “to coordinate gas policy.” The troika will meet to coordinate and control close to two-thirds of the world’s gas reserves and a quarter of its gas production.

Russia prefers to coordinate energy policies with Tehran, recognizing that together they control roughly 20 percent of the world’s oil reserves and about half of global gas reserves, offering tremendous geo-economic power.

The United States should create an international coalition of energy consumers to oppose energy cartels. The U.S. Congress should also allow energy exploration in the Arctic, the Rocky Mountains, and along the continental shelves and expand cooperative gas ties with Canada.

Russia’s Global Gas Strategy

In the tight global energy market, Russia clearly appreciates the bargaining power that its energy resources provide, as it attempts to control energy exports from the New Independent States, such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Russia also has strengthened its ties to Iran, Venezuela, Libya, and other energy exporters. Recently, Moscow also launched a “charm offensive” on OPEC.

Russia is playing a sophisticated game to maximize its advantage as the leading gas producer with the largest reserves on the planet as well as the second largest oil exporter.

Russia’s approach was gradualist. Moscow had never openly shown enthusiasm about a gas cartel but waited for an opportunity to launch one. Yet, the cartel reportedly was a brainchild of the Russian prime minister and former president, Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s approach was also stealthy. Instead of announcing the cartel prematurely and spooking consumer countries, it quietly put the component parts into place. Until the Tehran declaration, Russia was able to appear reasonable.

At the Doha meeting in April, members of the GECF agreed to discuss dividing the consumer markets between them, particularly in Europe. Russia and Algeria are already major players there, and Iran may join them in the next decade. This will clearly challenge the European Union’s energy liberalization and gas deregulation policy, which took effect on July 1.

Geopolitical Clout

The troika and GECF members are planning to “reach strategic understandings” on export volumes, schedules of deliveries, and the construction of new pipelines. They plan to explore and develop gas fields and coordinate startups and production schedules. Despite protestations to the contrary, the GECF has all the trappings of a nascent cartel, and the troika includes its founding members. These founders will expand cooperation beyond their relationship through the GECF and drag other gas producers with them.

The new group will provide its three leaders with greater geopolitical advantage. If this new cartel expands, Russia and Iran will gain clout over Eurasian gas suppliers, such as Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

Major gas producers such as Iran, Russia, Qatar, Turkmenistan, Brunei, and Venezuela have one feature in common: a democracy deficit. All three members of the new cartel share this dubious quality. Just like OPEC, the gas cartel will be a force that can be used to challenge and possibly weaken market–based democracies through energy prices and wealth transfer. Such a cartel may cut deals with undemocratic large-scale consumers, such as China, while forcing the West to pay full price.

Coordinated Global Action Needed

The U.S. George W. Bush administration barely reacted to the Tehran and Doha meetings. Officials express concern, but only in private. The European Commission merely stated that it opposed price-fixing cartels in principle.

As the case of OPEC demonstrates, closing markets to competition, promoting national oil companies, and limiting production results in limited supply and higher oil prices. Gas will not be different.

What the U.S. Can Do

The United States should open its vast natural gas resources onshore and offshore to further exploration and production and encourage its neighbors in Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean to do the same.

The next administration should work with the European Union, Japan, China, India, and other countries to prevent the cartelization of the gas sector. This can be accomplished through cooperation with the International Energy Agency, which China and India should be invited to join, and by applying anti-trust legislation worldwide against state-owned companies that are actively involved in cartel-like behavior in energy markets.

Finally, the United States should work closely with those within GECF who oppose Russian-Iranian domination, including Azerbaijan, Canada, the Netherlands, and Norway. The National Security Council and the National Economic Council should take the lead in developing this policy. Unless buyer solidarity is translated into action, energy consumers and economic growth will suffer worldwide.

(*) – Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., is senior research fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘MIDDLE EAST TIMES’ (Egypt)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FUELS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, LYBIA, NATURAL GAS, OPEC, PETROL, QATAR, RUSSIA, THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

CHÁVEZ REITERA LLAMADO A OPOSICIÓN A RECONOCER RESULTADOS ELECTORALES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

14/11/2008

CARACAS, 14 de noviembre (PL).— El presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez, reiteró hoy su llamado a la HUGO CHÁVEZ VISITING BRAZILoposición a que reconozca sin actos violentos los resultados de los comicios regionales y municipales del próximo 23 de noviembre.

Ante la derrota que se les avecina a los contrarios están diciendo que habrá fraude, es el mismo cuento de siempre, apuntó el gobernante durante un acto con seguidores del Partido Socialista Unidos De Venezuela (PSUV) en el estado Anzoátegui.

Les hago un llamado a los partidos opositores a respetar la decisión de la mayoría pues nadie podrá contra la carga del pueblo, subrayó el jefe de Estado.

Puntualizó que sus adversarios están desesperados y quieren cantar fraude, desconocer los resultados de los comicios y desestabilizar al país.

Sostuvo que hace unos meses la oposición, la contrarrevolución y el pitiyanquismo decían que ganarían 15 gobernaciones, pero ahora, añadió, el panorama es muy diferente.

En ese sentido, recalcó que los candidatos del PSUV pueden ganar en todos los estados, pero seríamos los primeros en reconocer si algún opositor vence.

Chávez también exhortó a todos sus seguidores a votar el venidero 23 al recordar que el abstencionismo fue la principal causa de la derrota en la consulta popular para reformar la Constitución en diciembre pasado.

Patria, socialismo o muerte es nuestro grito de batalla, y nada ni nadie nos van a apartar de este camino, resaltó el también máximo líder del PSUV.

Casi 17 millones de venezolanos están convocados para seleccionar 22 gobernadores, 328 alcaldes, 233 miembros de consejos legislativos, 13 concejales al Cabildo Metropolitano de Caracas y siete al Ayuntamiento Metropolitano del Alto Apure.

El estado Amazonas no elige gobernador pues pasó a ser considerado como tal en 1992 cuando transcurría el período presidencial 1989-1993, lo cual mantiene desfasado su ciclo de sufragios en relación con el resto del país.

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Posted in INTERNATIONAL, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

MEDVEDEV PLANS TRIP TO CUBA ON LATIN AMERICAN TOUR LATER THIS MONTH

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Published: November 14, 2008, 15:30

Agencies

Nice: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will visit US foe Cuba on a tour of Latin American states later DIMITRI MEDEVEDEVthis month, his spokeswoman said on Friday.

“As part of his trip to Latin America … this month, the president will also visit Cuba,” spokeswoman Natalya Timakova told reporters on the sidelines of a European Union-Russia summit in the French resort of Nice.

Russia has been building ties with Latin American leaders who are cool towards the United States, a drive the Kremlin said is about trade but which some analysts say is designed to signal to Washington that Russia is once again a world power.

Medvedev had been scheduled only to visit Venezuela, Brazil and Peru on his tour of the region. His spokeswoman did not give an exact date for the Cuban leg of the trip.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘GULF NEWS’ (Dubai)

Posted in BRASIL, CENTRAL AMERICA, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, CUBA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LATIN AMERICA, PERU, RUSSIA, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

WHERE OIL AND WATER MIX – The state was built on oil and the Port Arthur refining hub on the gulf coast is happy to have Alberta’s ‘dirty ‘oil

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

Published: Saturday, November 01, 2008

Claudia Cattaneo, Financial Post

PORT ARTHUR, Tex. – By the middle of the next decade, this weathered city in America’s deep south Marine One, carrying President George W. Bush, flies past an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico near Cameron, La., during an aerial tour Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2005, of recent hurricane damage.abutting the Gulf of Mexico, will receive a flood of oil from Fort McMurray’s oil sands plants. About one million barrels a day of Alberta oil will flow into the world’s biggest refining market.

As far as long-time resident Floyd Batiste is concerned, it’s about time.

“I am not a politician, but I think this country and Canada have a very good relationship,” said Mr. Batiste, who runs the city’s economic development corporation.

TransCanada Corp. of Calgary and its partners have picked Port Arthur, about 150 kilometres east of Houston, to end the $12.2-billion Keystone pipeline that will feed local refineries and others perched along the U. S. Gulf Coast.

The surge of Alberta oil to the area could eventually swell to two million barrels a day, absorbing most of the volume growth expected from the deposits in the next decade.

With three long-established refineries, new liquefied natural gas plants under construction and so many pipeline connections its underground looks like a “spaghetti bowl,” any talk of Canada’s “dirty oil” hasn’t caught on in the disadvantaged community, where many of the 56,000 residents are older and unskilled.

The community, whose boarded-up downtown resembles a Caribbean outpost passed over by the tourism industry, desperately needs good-paying jobs and investment.

Mr. Batiste said oil industry spending could make a lot happen.

“I would say probably less than 30% of workers in these plants actually live in Port Arthur. [Local] people aren’t skilled enough,” he said. “There has been a tremendous effort by just about every political entity, industry to upgrade the skill-set of people. In my opinion, industry has taken the lead.”

After suffering deeply in the mid-1970s from a refinery downturn, then coasting for many years due to lack of investment, Port Arthur’s economy is picking up.

Investments worth US$15-billion are beginning to flow in, some related to refinery expansions to process oil from Canada.

San Antonio, Tex.-based Valero Energy Corp., French major Total SA, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Saudi Aramco are all expanding their plants. Exxon Mobil Corp. is building a liquefied natural gas terminal.

“There are not many communities that will accept them, but we have always been a refinery town,” said Mr. Batiste. Indeed, some plants are located a mile away from people’s homes.

Like Fort McMurray, Port Arthur is an old oil town. The stuff is in its blood: the city’s slogan is “Port Arthur, where oil and water do mix. Beautifully.”

The Spindletop oil discovery in nearby Beaumont in 1901 ushered in the modern oil era in the United States, giving birth to oil companies like Gulf, Amoco and Humble Oil Co., now a part of Exxon.

Refineries were built to process the gusher. But as fields matured, imports were brought in to keep the refineries full.

Now, Port Arthur’s refineries are among 30 spread out over the Texas/Louisiana coast, in Houston’s Ship Channel, Lake Charles, Texas City and other points nearby. The region is the largest refinery centre in the world.

It keeps the nation on the move, processing seven million barrels a day (out of 17.4 million refined in the United States). When its plants are offline, as was the case last month during Hurricane Ike, many parts of the country grind to a halt.

For Canadian oil producers, the Gulf Coast is the Holy Grail: More refineries to process heavy oil than any other place on Earth.

Already, refiners import about 1.9 million barrels a day, largely from two sources: Venezuela (600,000 barrels a day) and Mexico (nearly one million barrels.)

Refiners started getting worried about future supplies from these sources three to four years ago, said Neil Earnest, a global refining expert and vice-president at Dallas-based Muse Stancil & Co.

Mexican crude production is in steep decline because its main oil field, Cantarell, is maturing. Meanwhile, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez is a wild card. He continues to issue threats to cut off oil supply to the United States while forging alliances with countries like Russia.

Indeed, some supply contracts from Venezuela are coming to an end in 2011, said Russ Girling, president of pipelines at TransCanada, the unit that is building Keystone.

“As they look around the world for alternative sources of heavy supplies, what immediately hits the radar screen is Western Canada,” Mr. Earnest said. “Country risk is about zero … and there are very real prospects that supplies from Western Canada will increase in the near term. That is the attraction.”

Canadian heavy oils are also similar to those produced in Mexico and Venezuela and can fill the gap at little additional cost to existing plants, he said.

Not everyone sees the oil sands as an ideal replacement. Green organizations such as Natural Resources Defense Council are up in arms over Keystone. In September, the group sued top U. S. state government officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a bid to try to stop it. The Washington-based lobby group argues the pipeline will encourage oil sands development, resulting in big increases to greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr. Earnest said greenhouse gas emissions in Canada are not high on the agenda in the Gulf Coast industry.

Bill Day, a spokesman for Valero, argued its Port Arthur plant already processes oil similar to Canada’s. “We will let the politicians deal with the politics of it. We are in the refining business, and as long as there is demand for fuel, companies like ours will meet that demand,” he said.

Valero, the largest refiner in North America, with throughput capacity of 3.1 million barrels a day, has committed to being a shipper on Keystone, signing large supply contracts with Canadian producers. It has an option to take equity ownership.

Its refinery is able to process 100,000 b/d of Canadian heavy oil currently, Mr. Day said. The company is investing US$2.2-billion to handle even more Canadian supply.

“There was this whole debate about whether it’s better to refine the oil in Canada where it exists, or is it better to bring the oil to where the refineries already are set up to process this kind of oil. We believe it’s most cost-effective to ship it down by pipeline, to where refineries are already in place,” Mr. Day added.

He was referring to the Alberta government’s preference that more upgrading be done in province to capture greater economic benefits from the development of the oil sands. However, that strategy is losing traction as weaker oil prices and high construction costs in the province make upgrading in Alberta uneconomic.

Already, EnCana Corp. has linked up with ConocoPhillips, Husky Energy Inc. with BP PLC. Petro-Canada and Suncor Energy Inc. indicated last week they would look for refineries in the United States rather than upgrade in the province.

LyondellBasell’s Houston refinery, built nearly a century ago and upgraded in 2003 to process heavy oil from Venezuela, is studying whether to source Canadian supplies. Partly owned by Venezuela’s state-owned Citgo Petroleum from 1993 to 2006, the Rotterdam-based company has since re-acquired full ownership. It is now the world’s third-largest chemical company and a producer of biofuels.

Spokesman David Harpole said the refinery still has a supply agreement with Venezuela, but believes “it’s in our interest to maintain flexibility” and find new heavy oil sources.

“If we can overcome the logistical side of things and secure a long-term pipeline agreement to transport the material and a long-term crude supply agreement, we would look at opportunities to significantly increase our use of Canadian crude,” he said.

With the world running out of energy options, the company is open to the oil sands, even if they generate more greenhouse gases than other sources, Mr. Harpole said.

“Look at offshore drilling, the challenges that come to that, the added depths that they are having to go to in the Gulf,” he said. “The easy-to-find, lower-cost oil has been found around the world. We are going to have to look at alternatives and the most economical and environmentally responsible way of producing the oil sands.”

With pipelines the missing link between Alberta’s deposits and Gulf Coast refiners, several proposals to build them have emerged in recent years.

Keystone, which TransCanada is developing with partner ConocoPhillips, emerged as the frontrunner in July when it announced it had secured shipper support to expand and extend all the way to Port Arthur. The first phase, targeting the U. S. Midwest, is now under construction.

Rival Enbridge Inc. announced in August a $2.2-billion plan with partner BP to reconfigure existing pipelines to move oil sands production to Houston.

TransCanada’s Mr. Girling said Keystone will eventually move 900,000 barrels a day of Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast in the next five to six years, in addition to 500,000 moving to Midwest refineries by 2010. TransCanada stands ready to build a lateral to Houston if needed.

Once built, the pipeline highway will make landlocked Alberta producers worry for the first time about hurricanes. Port Arthur was hit hard by Hurricane Ike, which flooded homes and streets, and caused refineries to suspend operations. As for Gulf refiners, they will get to know the challenges of extracting oil in Canada’s north, such as when an Arctic cold snap turns off the tap for a while.

ccattaneo@nationalpost.com

© National Post 2008

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CANADA.COM’

Posted in CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMY, ENERGY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, NORTH AMERICA, PETROL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

REFINAN PETRÓLEO EN CUBA

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on October 31, 2008

30/10/2008

Por William Fernández Jiménez

Cuba trabaja de manera intensamente en la creación de nuevas capacidades de refinación de petróleo REFINERIA CAMILO CIENFUEGOS - CUBAcomo resultado de los diferentes mecanismos de solidaridad, integración y cooperación con la República Bolivariana de Venezuela.

Esas acciones posibilitarán ampliar las producciones en las refinerías de Cienfuegos, recién reinaugurada y modernizar la existente en Santiago de Cuba, donde también se proyecta construir una con capacidad para procesar 150 000 barriles anuales.

El descubrimiento de nuevos pozos y la continua exploración para hallar otros, permiten incrementar las reservas del país y mantener niveles de producción similares a los actuales e incluso, pudieran ampliarse.

Antes había que contratar las máquinas para perforar, reparar y cementar; hoy el país cuenta con el equipamiento necesario para asumir los pozos de la Empresa Cubana del Petróleo.

Unido a esto, se impulsa el aprovechamiento del gas acompañante en la generación de combustible doméstico y el correcto manejo del agua, partes de la mezcla triflujo que emana de los pozos.

A eso se suma que de conjunto con el Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Medio Ambiente la mayor de Las Antillas desarrolla acciones encaminadas a minimizar las afectaciones al entorno.

Fuente AIN

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