By Jens Erik Gould
Sept 8, 2005
This is part of a series of re-published articles I wrote in 2005 for the Daily Journal in Caracas
Energy and Petroleum Minister Rafael Ramirez said on Thursday that any possible decision to raise the OPEC production quota by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) “won’t make a difference in the market situation."
Ramirez said that high prices would continue for “a significant amount of time” because of deficits in refining capacity and transport.
“This is out of the hands of OPEC. OPEC is willing to give crude to market,” he said.
Ramirez said last week that OPEC countries could not increase production because “they were producing at their maximum levels.”
He also said on Thursday that Venezuela has already designated 1 million barrels of gasoline to be sent to disaster areas affected Hurricane Katrina. He clarified that the shipment will not be a donation to the United States, but he did not give any details about a loan.
The Venezuelan Embassy in the United States said in a press release on Wednesday that the gasoline will be sent in four shipments totaling over 960,000 barrels and will be taken from storage and diverted from other customers. The shipments will arrive by October 1, the statement said.
The shipments will be sent to and distributed by state-run Petroleos de Venezuelaís (PDVSA) wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, CITGO, and will supplement PDVSA's previously scheduled shipments to CITGO, which amount to of 1.2 million barrels of oil for September, the statement said.
"Venezuela is privileged to be able to help the United States in this time of need," said Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuela's Ambassador to the United States. "We see ourselves as a compassionate people and hope that our efforts will help cope with current market needs of the U.S. for gasoline, and provide some immediate relief to the victims of this horrific natural disaster."
JENS ERIK GOULD
Jens Erik Gould is a political, business and entertainment writer and editor who has reported from a dozen countries for media outlets including The New York Times, National Public Radio and Bloomberg News.