Posts Tagged ‘Latin America’

Survivor Latin America: Small polymer makers ponder moves ahead of US petrochemicals boom

The US petrochemical renaissance could spell the death of the small polymer producer in Latin America.

Or not.

But there’s no denying that the threat facing these companies is quite real and quite easy to figure out.

Read the rest of this entry »

Figures on Venezuela’s oil, product exports to China are for the birds

One thing I learned during an eight-year stint in Latin America is that magical realism is not just a literary device popular among writers there.

Sometimes it is a worldview, such as when a government minister of a certain Latin American country assured a group of journalists that vastly increasing its oil production was just a few weeks away as all they had to do was “turn on” some non-producing wells. This was the same minister who gulped down brackish water from a lake to “prove” that an oil spill there had been cleaned up. He said it tasted just fine.

Read the rest of this entry »

A sea change for US jet fuel: record net exports for 2012

Think the jets to Europe and Latin America are packed? Try the ships carrying jet fuel.

 The idling of a major Caribbean refinery last year helped speed along a net export trend for US jet fuel, with a record amount shipped out of the US in 2012. The reversal of historic net imports happened despite events that would normally make one think the US would be a heavy importer: major refinery issues on the West Coast and Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast.

Read the rest of this entry »

Oil and white noise in Ecuador, the middle of the world

Platts’ sparkling new office in downtown Houston boasts a “white noise” system that is barely discernible but muffles distracting conversations from a few cubicles away. Concentrating is easier, despite the rule of thumb that good journalism happens amid chaos and doughnut crumbs. But the system also cancels out sometimes useful information I used to overhear.

About the same time as our office move, an article in a state-run Ecuadorean newspaper reminded me of how some governments develop their own virtual white-noise systems to cancel out distracting alternative opinions.  

Read the rest of this entry »

At the Wellhead: Repsol’s flop in Cuba raises plenty of questions about country’s oil future

Repsol has drilled what is known in the business as a “duster,” a dry hole. It was an extremely expensive duster, and it has brought into question whether Cuba will be the big oil producer that some have envisioned. In this week’s At the Wellhead column from Oilgram News, Leslie Moore Mira discusses the fallout from Repsol’s setback.

Read the rest of this entry »

Aló Venezuela, I’m alive: What happens when Chávez doesn’t phone home

Oil-rich Venezuela’s outspoken but now cancer-striken leader of the past 13 years, Hugo Chávez, is usually so noisy that when he recently went almost radio silent for 10 days, people thought he had died.

Social networking sites buzzed with the rumor over the weekend. His stay for this round of radiation therapy in Cuba to treat his unspecified cancer lasted longer than normal — some 12 days — although he returned quietly to Caracas shortly after midnight April 26.

Read the rest of this entry »

Petrobras CEO lays out a long list of things his company needs

As Tokyo prepares for Christmas, a very big holiday here, Jose Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo showed up in Japan’s capital with what he wanted Santa to bring him. It was a lot more than 12 drummers drumming and five gold rings.

The Petrobras CEO has been making a grand tour of Asia the past two weeks, speaking and holding media briefings in Singapore (at Singapore International Energy Week), South Korea and Tokyo.

Read the rest of this entry »

La Apertura, The Quest, and the man who tried to reverse Venezuela’s oil slide

There have been reviews published recently of Daniel Yergin’s new book, The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World. Only a professional reviewer, given an advance copy, could have finished this massive tome by now; it was released less than two weeks ago.

The little meter on my Kindle tells me I’ve read 12% of the book. And already, I’ve encountered a terrific tale of one of the oil industry’s more significant developments in recent history: la apertura.

Read the rest of this entry »

At the Wellhead: once again, an effort to try to fix Mexico’s oil industry

The dysunfctional operations of Pemex, Mexico’s state oil company have long been known, and long been the source of exasperation almost worldwide. Mexico analyst George Baker touched on some of those issues several months ago in this entry. Now, in this week’s Platts Oilgram News column, Platts correspondent Ron Buchanan discusses the latest attempt to change Pemex’ trajectory.

Read the rest of this entry »

Petrodollars: Brazil says yes to FPSO, but others aren’t following suit

Petrobras is getting ready to embrace floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) technology in the coming months. But as Gary Taylor notes in this week’s PetroDollars column from Platts Oilgram News, other companies are not all following suit.

Read the rest of this entry »