PDV widens assistance despite concerns over Petro Caribe

PDV CAB will be adding another component to its programmes to benefit the nation’s senior citizens, who already receive utility and food subsidies.

Word of the expansion of the programme comes in spite of deepening concerns over the future of the energy deal between Venezuela and nations like Antigua and Barbuda

The funds for such assistance projects are generated through an easy payment fuel purchase deal, which frees up cash at PDV Caribe Antigua and Barbuda Ltd. (PDV CAB) for investment and social programmes.

PDV CAB’s operations manager Laurie Louard announced on state media this morning plans to distribute free LED lights.

“We’re gonna start with the utility subsidy programme beneficiaries, ’cause since we have this distribution coming up next week with the booklets, we’re going to distribute to them – three bulbs to each beneficiary.

“We understand you probably have more than three bulbs in your home, but what we’re doing is right now, we’re starting you off with three,” the manager said, addressing that portion of his audience directly.

The distribution Louard was speaking about is of new booklets for the PDV utility and food subsidies.

Louard and his team are hoping that pensioners’ electricity consumption will decrease due to more efficient lighting, leading not just to lower bills for them but to reduction in the nation’s overall energy use as well.

He says the bulbs should be fully distributed by the end of March.

Since oil prices have been declining so steeply and quickly over the last several months, there has been wide expectation that Venezuela, which itself is under cash pressures, would eventually have no choice but to discontinue Petro Caribe or, at least, make significant change to the the cash requirement for purchases.

This morning however, Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft, the leader of Russia’s petroleum industry and the world’s largest publicly traded petroleum company, was reported as projecting a hefty price rebound.

Sechin is said to have reasoned that low prices would delay oil well projects and result in a contraction in supply leading to prices climbing maybe as high a US$110 per barrel, a level considered by many to be comfortable for oil producing nations such as Venezuela.

His estimate is that the market will see this adjustment within a year.

That outlook is brand new and there’s yet no indication on the impact, if any, it may have in Caracas.