Editorial / Commentary / Opinion
Gustavo Coronel : Heavy Oil Congress
moved to Margarita Island. Heavy hand at work?
Only one week before opening date the International Heavy Oil Congress organized by the Venezuelan petroleum industry has been moved from the city of Puerto La Cruz to the neighboring island of Margarita. This is a curious decision. Although seemingly unimportant, it illustrates the manner in which things are being done nowadays in Venezuela. Two reasons were given by authorities for the abrupt change in venue: one, the extreme drought conditions prevailing in “the Venezuelan mainland”, and two, the fact that this change will provide the “best amenities and experience to the delegates and other attendees”.
These two reasons sound pretty shaky. The argument about the drought does not apply since the island of Margarita is supplied with water from the Venezuelan mainland. In fact, is at the end of the line of supply. The electricity failures are as frequent or more so in the island than in the mainland. What I can surmise is that the Margarita hotel where the event will now be held, recently taken over by Chavez in his usual high-handed manner, has its own electric plants and is, therefore, able to have electricity even if the surrounding areas are in the dark.
The second argument is also invalid. If Margarita offered better conditions to start with, why did they decide to have the Congress in Puerto La Cruz? Again, it could be that, now, having taken over the Margarita hotel, they can do as they please with existing reservations. The Margarita Hilton is a time-share resort. I can imagine that many owners had reservations for that week of November 3rd. It is inevitable that, with the change of location for the Congress, many of these reservations have been summarily cancelled by government orders. If true, this would be a clear abuse of power.
Gustavo Coronel is a 28 years oil industry veteran, a member of the first board of directors (1975-1979) of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), author of several books. At the present Coronel is Petroleumworld associate editor and advisor on the opinion and editorial content of the site. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.
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Petroleumworld News 10/29/09
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