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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

23 November 2005

Chavez’s oil to Mass

Venezuela has signed a deal to send subsidized heating oil to poor residents in Massachusetts: “The agreement projects that CITGO [Venezuela’s US-based subsidiary] will offer over 12 million gallons of heating oil at a discount of 40 percent below market prices over the next four months.” Congressman Bill Delahunt (D-MA) intoned: “It is gratifying that at least one major oil company is willing to step up to help – voluntarily and at its own expense.”

Only time will reveal the significance of this move. But at least it reminds us why oil exporters have so many economic problems: when money comes their way, they choose to spend it on political maneuvers such as this. The magnanimity of the moment may be heartfelt and surely its effects will make a difference; but high prices will not last forever, and Hugo Chavez may find that his oil profits led him to tactical indulgence in foreign diplomacy rather than strategic leadership at home and abroad.

References:
“Delahunt: First-in-nation CITGO commitment to winter fuel discounts,” Press Release at Congressman Bill Delahunt’s website, 22 Nov 05 (link)

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