Thursday, April 14, 2005

Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA is negotiating long-term oil supply contracts with Spanish firm Repsol YPF and Cepsa.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said that the state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela is looking for direct contracts with the refineries these companies operate.

"We are negotiating long-term contracts with Spanish companies... Repsol and Cepsa," Ramirez told reporters.

Ramirez added that PDVSA won't scrap existing contracts to send oil to Spain. The oil supplied "will come from volumes that are not already committed," he said.
Meanwhile, there's an update on the sale of NBC-related material: Aleksander Boyd received an email message for an official from Spain's Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism:
The €30.374 worth of exports to Venezuela in the first semester of 2004 consisted of CS (chlorobenzylidene malonitrile) gas used to produce tear devices (the gas gets compressed into containers in a facility in Venezuela). It is used to control riots.
However, Aleksander tells me by email that he's not aware that there's any factory with facilities for this in Venezuela; everything is imported as a finished product, not in bulk. At the same time, as I said in previous posts, these sales were under the defense material category, so it should be assumed that it was sold for its use by the military, not the police; however, the use of tear gas by armed forces is specifically prohibited by the Chemical Arms Convention. Therefore 1/ defense material was sold to law enforcement forces and not the military, 2/ it's not clear yet it was indeed CS tear gas.

Aleksander and I have requested further clarification on this to the official, so I hope we'll have some news soon.

UPDATE. Forgot to mention that this issue, and this blog too, was kindly mentioned by Robin Burk during her appearance at MSNBC's segment Connected: Coast to Coast. The video is here; thanks to Trey Jackson for alerting me about it.