For years the state company Petroleum of Venezuela (PDVSA) is mired in the worst crisis in its history, amid allegations of corruption and serious management problems. A report made by various local media reveals the irregularities that have been splashing the state oil company.
While Nicolás Maduro’s regime invents authoritarian maneuvers to avoid US sanctions and paradoxically celebrates as a victory the arrival of foreign ships with fuel to alleviate the country’s shortage with the largest proven oil reserves in the world, it hides that Hundreds of millions of dollars from Venezuelans were engaged in business with oil tankers. Many are not even in service. They never set sail.
Among the faces of this shameful story are those of Asdrúbal Chávez, brother of the late President Hugo Chávez, current president of the state oil company and who before coming to office held key positions of responsibility with respect to the fleet; that of Rafael Ramirez, who led the corporation and the Ministry of Petroleum when millionaire businesses were forged; and that of Wilmer Ruperti, one of the most benefited businessmen with contracts for the fleet and who today reappears as a savior in the crisis. A sea of irregularities at PDVSA, the once powerful corporation that left behind its past as one of the richest oil companies in the world.
This is one of the largest and most unknown chapters of bleeding public funds under Chavismo in Venezuela. The journalistic project shows the loss of $ 3.7 billion from public assets, due to payment for ships that were not built, surcharges, administrative disorder, stranded vessels.
This research was supported by about 350 PDVSA internal audit documents carried out on oil tanker construction and charter projects, as well as in more than 18 interviews with high-altitude captains and other specialized sources.
The portal The Pitazo summarized some of the research findings:
-Pdvsa’s fleet sails in a sea of irregularities. Poor management has caused the loss of $ 3.7 billion.
-In 2005, Hugo Chávez approved the construction of 18 oil tankers in Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and Iran for an amount of 1,200 million dollars. PDVSA advanced more than 500 million dollars and only received one ship late. In Argentina and Brazil, two tankers remain stranded.
-At the beginning of 2020, amid the sanctions, 46 vessels supported PDVSA’s maritime and river transport, although only three were owned by the Venezuelan state.
-128 oil tankers, 22 owned by the state company and the rest of foreign companies, provided service for PDVSA from 2015 to 2017.
-In Portugal the ship Negra Matea has been stranded for repair since 2017. Another six vessels remain anchored in Venezuela. This has caused the loss of 75 million dollars.
-Pdvsa paid 177 million dollars in freight to two tankers bought with 95% Venezuelan money. This freight business occurred within the framework of a joint venture between Cuba and Venezuela.
-An internal audit report by PDVSA reveals that $ 1.8 billion in operating expenses disappeared outside the budget in the case of small vessels and vessels.
The report was made by Alianza Rebelde Investiga (ARI), (El Pitazo, Runrunes, Tal Cual) and Connectas