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PDVSA: More Contradictions

PDVSA's 2009 profits are half of what company president Rafael Ramirez said they were only a few months ago.


Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA posted a 41 percent decline in 2009 revenues to $75 billion, while profits fell 53 percent to $4.4 billion, according to its 2009 report released today.

The profit figure is nearly half of what PDVSA President and Venezuelan oil minister Rafael Ramirez announced in April. They also confirm previous misgivings by experts contacted by Latin Business Chronicle.

Meanwhile, both the profit figure is also lower than a preliminary PDVSA report quoted by Venezuelan newspaper El Universal last month, which claimed that the oil company's 2009 profits reached $6.1 billion.

The contradictions in the numbers aren't the only sign of concern. The release of the 2009 results are significantly delayed compared to previous years. Last year, PDVSA released its annual report on June 7 and in 2008 it was released in March.

By comparison, Petrobras of Brazil and Pemex released thier 2009 results in March and have also released first quarter results for this year.

Meanwhile, some experts doubt the official figures.

"If their costs are the same as in 2008, some $112 billion,  they might even be losing money, rather than making a net profit,” former PDVSA board member Gustavo Coronel told Latin Business Chronicle in May. 
This is reinforced by the fact that their 2009 debt was 30 percent higher than in 2008, from $15 to $21 billion, as declared by PDVSA, he added.


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