Portugal getting a hand on Venezuela's energy riches

In advance of the European Union – Latin America and Caribbean summit, the Portuguese prime minister, José Sócrates, visited Venezuela. During two days, more than twenty economic agreements were celebrated between the two countries, where energy had a major role.

Among the entourage where representatives of some of the largest companies operating in Portugal, with the objective of firming protocols in the vein of “oil for goods”, towards which the Venezuelan executive has been showing great openness.

Crossposted at the European Tribune.

Oil and Gas had the major focus, with several agreements struck on exploration, production and trading. The biggest being respective to Orinoco where GALP will start operating in the Boyacá 6 block. José Sócrates and Hugo Chávez both speech in a ceremony inaugurating a drilling rig in the site.

Chávez and Sócrates at Orinoco's block Boyacá 6. Source: PeriodistaDigital

As usual Chávez was very expressive, explaining why previous agreements with oil majors where cancelled:

For a long time the international companies told us that this wasn't oil, it was bitumen. They said it was something like coal, and hence should be price as coal. See, this is the coal.

[Chávez then showed a small sample of Orinoco oil slowly flowing from a cup to another.]

Oil, liquid hydrocarbons. This is the greatest reserve that exists in world.

Chávez then effusively thanked GALP's president and Sócrates, for the negotiations that long preceded the agreement, facilitating a deal of great value for Venezuela.

Then José Sócrates went on to the rig helping the PDSVA workers in the starting operations, sending a drill bit down, wearing a red safety helmet, just like the workers that clad in red from head to toe. He also had the opportunity to express his joy with the outcome of those two days spent in Venezuela, welcoming the tightening of economic relations between the two countries.

These relations are not fortuitous. There are 400 000 Portuguese emigrants living today in Venezuela, about half in Caracas, many of whom run small business. About two thirds of the bakeries and restaurants in Venezuela are run by Portuguese or their descendants, as so half of the grocery stores in the country.

Looking closer at deals struck, GALP celebrated several protocols with PDVSA, the most publicized being the consortium to assess and produce oil from the Boyacá 6 block, from which the companies expect to be producing 200 kb/d ten years from now. Some of this oil will be transported to Portugal and only refined there (at the Sines complex) where according to GALP's president, there exists the technology to process some of these heavier oils. GALP's president also referred to journalists that Orinoco oils cost 15 dollars per barrel to produce. GALP and PDSVA will also form another joint company to trade Orinoco's oil internationally.

GALP celebrated other agreements, namely to build 4 wind farms totalling over 70 MW of installed capacity, and got access to the data on the offshore Blanquilla gas blocks in order to assess their potential, with future perspectives of production. GALP will co-build with PDVSA two gas liquefaction terminals from which one third of the gas consumed in Portugal will come in 2013.

This last agreement on natural gas supply, might be the most important of all in strategic terms. Having in mind Europe's dire prospects on Natural Gas, this deal opens the South American market to Europe, to which the Sines complex, where a re-gasification terminal was built recently, presents itself as the most useful entrance. At the westernmost tip of continental Europe, Sines shorts the travel distance for LNG tankers coming from South America; from there gas can be easily transported to the rest of the country by pipeline or even to Spain.

The Sines Refinery, one of the largest in Europe. The Sines complex also comprises, among other infrastructures, a LNG terminal and several electricity generation plants.

Also integrating the Portuguese entourage were representatives from EDP (the country's electricity generation monopoly) that firmed several agreements on renewable energy, including 3 wind farms and technical support to other renewable energy prospects. EDP will also be involved in the assessment of the Blanquilla blocs and will have a 15% share in the construction of a third a gasification terminal.

EDP will also help PDSVA assessing the potential of using the coke residues from the refining process of Orinoco oils in electricity generation. EDP is also studying the possibility of building and operating combined cycle units in Venezuela.

Other deals were also struck with other companies on different areas such as civil construction, fish conservation and naval construction. Although details are not given in the press, this last one might be related to the LNG transportation to Europe.

Addressing journalists, Venezuelan oil minister Ramiréz produced the usual OPEC litany on why oil prices are so high: geo-politics (was he thinking of Venezuela?), the dollar devaluation and so on, re-affirming that there's nothing OPEC can do to hinder oil prices. He also said that 200 $ oil is a serious possibility.

The press coverage of the event was quite below the dimension of the agreements firmed, although several local TV channels and newspapers run pieces on the subject (from which the information presented here was distilled). Excluding brief articles in economic newspapers, the visit was invariably covered by journalists ill informed on energy matters, often confusing measuring units and mixing oil flows with reserves (the difference between Giga barrels and Mega barrels seem to be on of the hardest concept to grasp). Few of them might have understood what really happened during those two days they spent in Venezuela.

While on one hand the Portuguese executive shows some agility in trying to face the present energetic panorama, on the other hand it shows itself incapable of seeking alternative strategies to the continuous flow of fossil fuels. Being electricity generation from renewable sources now a reality (furnishing more than a third of the electricity consumed in the country, one of the best scores in Europe) the country's economy is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels, especial on Transport, being still at the mercy of the variations on international prices emanating from the depletion of these finite resources. These agreements will surely help, but not only are firmed relaying on private companies (held in some cases by foreign capital) as they can't possibly be a long term option for a future independent of finite resources that Portugal doesn't have.

This article was gathered on the information run on Portuguese media during the visit, of which the following links are left as reference:

Jornal de Negócios (on Orinoco)

Jornal de Negócios (on Natural Gas)

Diário Económico


Agência Lusa

RTP (news program Jornal 2 of 15-05-2008)

Luís de Sousa

There´s a lot of protesting going on in Portugal, concerning gas prices. Diesel costs about 1.4 eur/l and gas is reaching 1.5eur/l. People are trying to find a guilty, boycotting all the majors, including Galp, BP, etc..but my friend are still driving 500m to take a coffee and driving 90mph at the highway... I just cant´t imagine what will happen when if diesel reaches 2eur/l this year.. A civil war perhaps???
I think that Teixeira dos Santos (Portugues Finance Minister) is well aware about the problem we are facing:
"Reduzir o ISP não deve ser a forma como nos devemos ajustar ao encarecimento da energia", disse o ministro das Finanças, acrescentando que "há uma realidade que veio para ficar" e todos têm de se ajustar a essa "nova realidade".

Yahoo translator:
To reduce the ISP does not have to be the form as we must adjust in them to price increasing of energy" , the minister of the Finances said, adding that " he has a reality that he came to stay and all have of if adjusting to this new reality

Portugal have a obsolete railroad system..Take the example Aveiro-Vila Real: It takes about 2hr of driving, by train about 5hr....(just an example)

Off-topic, fresh news:http://ww1.rtp.pt/noticias/index.php?article=347359&visual=26 : Yesterday they reached oil in the Baia de Santos finally (6km depth)

Sorry about my english :)


As a Brit who frequently visits the Algarve region of Portugal, I have seen tremendous improvement to the transportation system in the last 13 years.

Whilst much of this has been the new motorway to Spain and to Lisbon, you should not forget the upgrade to the railway system between Lisbon and Faro.

Portugal may have an ageing railway system, but repair and renewal is not impossible.


When I was born there were less than 50 km of highways in the country. When the monies started flowing from the EU we quickly upgraded building endless miles of tarmac, to Spain, to the Algarve, interconnecting the industrial north, to Galicia, east-southwards, shoreline alternatives and to Spain again. All pretty useful infrastructure in the XXI century.

Our railway system to the outside of the country is a joke. Lisbon and Madrid are connected by a regional railway line, not even by an inter-city. The journey there takes about 10 hours and costs something in the order of 100 €.

Lisbon and Oporto are connected with the same flavour of HSR as Lisbon – Faro (theoretic max speed 250 km/h). But unfortunately in the last two thirds of the journey the train rarely goes over 100 km/h, due to various politic issues that prevented the proper upgrading of the railway line (environment, property, geographic, etc).

Plans existed for a proper HSR network to be built at the dawn of the century, but our politicians' endless insight delayed most of it sine die, with the Lisbon – Madrid connection set for 2013 at the earliest.

Lisbon is about 2400 km way from the heart of Europe (Paris – Amesterdam – Frankfurt triangle). Once diesel is high enough to stop the trans-european lorries our economy dies for good.

Sorry but here I can comment as an American I actually work in Extremadura Spain and the connection between Lisbon and Madrid is a absolute travesty. I know the province is poor on the Spanish side thats why I work there but what the hell ?

The buses are actually quite nice but its still not decent rail and this is between the two largest cities.

Sorry but you touched on my number one beef with all of Europe no high speed rail between Madrid and Lisbon.

I feel much better now :)

On the other hand, there are a number of factors that may benefit Portugal:

  • The relatively large percentage of electric power that is provided by renewables (mostly hydro, but increasingly wind and even solar). It's supposed to be already around 45%.
  • Some 70% (and rising) of the population lives near the coast, where the climate is gentle enough that one can survive winter without heating. It may not be comfortable (particularly in the northern regions where even in the coast temperatures can drop below freezing), but it is doable. On the other hand, global warming may mean that air conditioning usage may increase during the summer.
  • Salaries are still low by European standards, meaning that companies may have an incentive to move production to Portugal if transportation costs make China too expensive.
  • Serious economic hardship is not a foreign concept to most of the population. When talking to people over 50, it's not uncommon for them to recall actual hunger in their childhood days.

I'm not that old, but I remember 1982 particularly. Hunger was close by then for some people; soup was on my menu indefinetelly, we couldn't buy pork nor beef.


Government is standing strong for now, but they are being squeezed from all sides, some call for tax breaks, others for action against big oil. They can do it while they keep Parliament's support, but they are taking the serious risk of having the party's parliament members rebelling. It is a social-political system in failure.

P.S.: Keep posting whenever you fell like, everyone will understand your english.

The Portuguese people have much strength and is capable of everything, even for something as they are misinformed ... I don´t know if you saw "Pros and Contras" about the fuel cost on Monday, it was simply frightening ..


(Google translator, working fine thanks:), much better than yahoo )
"Fishing will paralyze from the day 30
Shipowners demanding subsidies for fuels, which are similar in practice in other member states, but Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries refusal

The fishing industry will make a total detention on the mainland to May 30 in protest against lack of government support to the sector, which can not absorb the increase in fuel prices. The escalation of fuel prices has, moreover, discussed yesterday, the Assembly of the Republic.

The decision of owners of fishing downtime at the end of the month, and for an indefinite period, vai lead to stay on land of about seven thousand vessels, according Miguel Cunha, head of the Shipowners' Association of Industrial Fishing (ADAPI). This stoppage, the leader stressed, vai "impossible the existence of fresh fish caught by boats Portuguese and require the purchase of imported fish, which will be more expensive for consumers and on which you can not ensure the hygiene and health conditions."

The protest, which joins the approximately 20 national associations and unions in the sector, "stems from the fact that in January have sent a letter to sr. Minister, to explain our problems and, until now, not having received any response . We feel ignored, "explained Miguel Cunha.

For the manager, it is worrying that the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries refuses to support the sector, when other EU countries such as France, Italy and Spain, are subsidizing the fishing industry, because of increased fuel. Still, yesterday in France, the fishermen have a mega protest that began with the blockade of the port of Marseilles and has spread to other ports, forcing an emergency meeting between representatives of fishermen and the Government.

"What we ask is that if equivalent competition rules, so that we can compete with our competitors on an equal footing," stressed the leader of the ADAPI. According to the association, the EU has a support mechanism for these situations, and in the case of Portugal, could be made available 15 million euros in aid.

Yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture, Jaime Silva, made it clear that no vai provide more support to the sector, saying that the fishing and agriculture already receive "an important support that others do not have", with a 50% reduction in the price of diesel.

The prime minister, who in Parliament merely reaffirm the assurance that the report of the Competition Authority will be known in early June, is not committed to any position. Not to change the tax on petroleum products (which recognized represent 60% of the total price) or to press oil companies to change their policy on fuel prices.

The Opposition of Right, Santana Lopes and Paulo Portas, insistou the need for tax changes and greater support to enterprises and citizens, victims of the increases.

To the Left, Jeronimo de Sousa and Francisco Louçã challenged the government's inactivity in the face of the huge profits of oil. And no longer a question that the prime minister did not answer "How do you justify that the increases in fuel prices are higher than those of oil?"

I am afraid of what might happen in Lisbon where the problems start, especially in Cova da Moura, Almada ... It may well be the same as in France, but on a larger scale ..

Thank you for your posting pedrot 16. You might consider posting in your native tongue as well and let us worry about translating. Obrigado!


Allow me to go a little off-topic. I am an English language translator at the European Commission and I can assure you that your English is pretty good indeed -- you don't have to apologize! Anyhow, English has become a lingua franca -- so don't worry about style; all that matters is content. It is absurd that non-native speakers of English should feel inhibited because they are less familiar with the language than those of us who were born and bred in the Anglosphere.

One tip: Yahoo Translator sucks when compared with 'Google Translate'. Here again is the Yahoo Translator's version of the Portuguese original you cited, followed by the version generated by Google Translate:


To reduce the ISP does not have to be the form as we must adjust in them to price increasing of energy" , the minister of the Finances said, adding that " he has a reality that he came to stay and all have of if adjusting to this new reality


"Reducing the ISP should not be how we should adjust the cost of energy," said the Minister of Finance, adding that "there is a reality that is here to stay" and everyone has to adjust to this "new reality".

See the difference? The Yahoo version is gobbledygook; the Google version makes sense, even if it isn't perfect.

Google Translate is simply the best Machine Translation system around -- and it's freeware. It will also translate entire web pages in seconds. You'll find it here:


Thank you!
I got used to Yahoo because I use many technical terms and that Yahoo is much better than Google, but I see that in normal language is not true.
I have no problems to read but to write :-) ...

Thanks for the link.

Unfortunately no option for Brit to American English :-)

All those misspelled words, and since when do cars have boots ?

We are not French, and we are NOT sticklers for exact grammar, spelling etc. It is difficult for many native speakers to use English to it's fullest, so do not worry.

Best Hopes,


I wonder how this fits with the US plans to destabilize the region.
The US military plane's incursion into Venezuelan airspace.
The US efforts in Bolivia to split the country.
The US disinformation campaign about Hugo Chavez.
The FARC raid that was sanctioned and aided by the US.

All of these paint a picture of the US flexing it's intelligence and military muscles ahead of something bigger.

What that is remains to be seen but an invasion of Venezuela for oil comes to mind.

double post, please delete.

Good question. I think there is a lot of arms wrestling going on behind the curtains: "If you do this, we will do this to you", etc.

If one follows the Economic Hitman -> Jackal -> Coupe -line of reasoning, Venezuela will be squeezed first through economic means (under way right now) and attempts are mostly of internal de-stabilization. Not that Chavez is making it any more difficult for them :)

Then again, a balance of mutual dependency acts upon some of these relations. Venezuela currently needs US, just as US needs Venezuela for the oil trade.

It is one thing to flex muscles in the public and gather additional support from the constituency at home, but another thing altogether to actually start using those muscles abroad.

PS In general Resource wars is not an actively discussed subject @ TOD threads, because poster nationalities wary and things can get heated up quickly. Without trying to take sides, I think it is still worthwhile trying to understand the realities of the situation and how various 'sides' think.

You have not read my war gaming posts then :)

Venezuela's big problem is the US can blockade them in a heartbeat without effecting any other oil producer.
It's very different from Iran so we don't have to invade Venezuela its trivial to lay siege to the country.

I think in general the US would like Venezuela oil to flow towards China until we get our draft going but anyone that becomes dependent on them should recognize the flow of oil could be cut off in a instant.
Portugal is making a fairly dumb move here. The EU won't support them when the US cuts the flow.


The US's big problem is that it imports 1 million barrels of oil per day from Venezuela; so a blockade would have to be mounted in conjunction with a daily release of similar quantities to US refiners from the SPR. Frankly, the US is in no position to lose 10% of its crude imports to China under any circumstances these days, so they're not exactly happy at the prospect of Venezuela diverting its exports Eastward or Euroward under any circumstances. It'd also be worth pondering that one of the knock-on effects would be an immediate embargo of Ecuadorian and Brazilian oil supplies to the US, who will under no circumstances accept such an act - so you can more or less double the daily compensatory draw from the SPR to 2 million bpd.

This wouldn't address the issue of Venezuela's other export customers who, in the absence of compensatory deliveries from the US SPR, would have to source alternate supplies in the markets, thereby driving oil prices up. Needless to say, this effects everyone, globally; any assertion to the contrary is, well, just plain silly.

I'm not going to bother about the various international legal issues that blockading Venezuela would raise for the US administration that was stupid enough to do it without explicit agreed legal standing, or speculate on the legal fallout for those down the chain of command tasked to carry out the policy - although I would add at this point, EVERY person involved in said blockade would have to deal with the prospect of legal jeopardy in numerous jurisdictions. Then again, I doubt that any US naval officer would attempt to impede the lawful passage of a Chinese registered tanker, for example, as it would be an act of war.

If you cast your mind back to 2002 and the anti-Chavez coup, the US immediately recognised the very short-lived government, and then had to back down sharpish.

Basically, your "game" kills the SPR in less than a year and probably would be settled when the dimwits who thought it might be a good idea are paraded around the Hague in chains before being thrown to the lions.

Interesting points.

On a related note, I don't think USA has or will give a hoot about ICJ @ Hague, except of course when it's to their own advantage. They have not nor will in the future give any US citizens to be put on trial at the ICJ.

As such, I think ICJ remains what it is: a puppet show for the (European) masses, as the real players do what they can anyway - and that can is limited by aforementioned resource/geopolitical issues and not international legislation.

The bit about the Hague is, er, a rhetorical flourish which wasn't meant too seriously.

However, it should be borne in mind that without explicit legal standing, anyone participating in a maritime blockade is committing an act of war against both the blockaded country AND the shipping of any third party that is denied freedom of passage, and is therefore liable to prosecution in multiple jurisdictions, under a wide variety of international statutes, and the plaintiff doesn't have to be a sovereign entity - which is basically a career killer for any active service US naval officer in the chain of command who can't avail him/herself of a diplomatic passport when subsequently travelling abroad.


That was funny as hell. I believe the intention is to commit a act of war in the first place.
Its not against the law to occupy a country take its resources and send it back to the stone age.
As far as I know you just have to file the right paperwork within 24 hours of invading if you choose
a surprise attack. All kinds of secret executive orders are also legit. So its fine to have the legal
paperwork but make it top secret so no one can see it.

Outright genocide and use of concentration camps is frowned upon at the moment but its not clear how long this will last.

But surely the Americans believe in free trade.

The US requires some very sophisticated machinery and pilots to drop an incendiary on a Venezuela target. Venezuela requires a dollar for bus fare and a cigarette lighter to drop an incendiary on a US target. Who do you think is more likely to win a war?
There are fifty million immigrants and their children in the US. We aren't at war with Iraq, we are at war with a bunch of thugs in Iraq, or we would already have lost as the US electrical net shut down from attacks by the one million, that is 1,000,000, Arabs in the US.
If they ever get pissed at us, we are going to have a lot more to worry about than the price of oil.

These countries with a blend of conventional and unconventional production are difficult to model, but the net export trend is pretty definite. When the 2007 data come out, they will probably show that Venezuelan net oil exports are down by about one-third from the 1997 level. Here's the EIA data through 2006:


What? you guys couldn't hold on to Brazil when it was your colony and now you're trying to make friends with Chavez? Caramba! Boa sorte meus caros amigos.

Just send Lula a good bottle of Port wine and I'm sure he'll let you have some of his ethanol production (in the form of cachaça of course) and at a very reasonable price, I'm sure. Who knows he might even hook you up with the guys over at Petrobras ;-)

GALP is already there, with interests in most of the blocks in the Santos Basin where recent sub-salt discoveries have been generating headlines...typically with the accuracy noted by a poster up thread.

I think the US could take some lessons from little Portugal. The former, acting as a bully and the latter, acting in a responbile friendly manner. I wish Venezuela and Portugal decades of good frienship and strong economic and cultural ties.

David Walters

"I think the US could take some lessons from little Portugal."

obama calls it cowboy diplomacy.

What? you guys couldn't hold on to Brazil when it was your colony

Er, Portugal couldn't hold onto Portugal. Everyone left when napoleon was stomping around Europe. As a Brazilian explained colorfully: 'Why should we stay here? Portugal is little, Brazil is big.' So the entire kingdom moved. It would be more correct to say Brazil couldn't hold onto Portugal.

Brazil couldn't hold onto Portugal.

LOL! I'll have to remember that one.

Well after daddy king João returned to Portugal sonny Pedro went and declared "Death or Independence"
and got to wear his own crown. Go figure. Though I think the ideals of the French revolution were kinda lost on the guy.

'Why should we stay here? Portugal is little, Brazil is big.'

Was that Chico Anisio?

It's not a well-known fact, but it should be: remember that for a time, the capital of the Portuguese empire was... Rio de Janeiro! (when the entire court moved to Brazil during the Napoleonic invasion).

Yep, kinda knew that. I was born in Brazil.

Em Portugal existe sete de setembro? O leitor mais atento, com toda certeza responderá que sim. Só que lá, nesta data não é feriado e também não há comemorações.


Sorry but this link does require fluency in Portugues or the use of translation software.

This looks like smart strategic thinking on the part of the Portugese. Encouraging national monopolies to develop synergy with a sovereign oil supplier. That bituminous oil may be messy stuff to refine, but there's an awful lot of it, and if they have long-term supply contracts at predictable prices, that puts them in a strong position for the coming decades, on the fossil fuel front.

That obviously doesn't excuse them from future-proofing their economy by developing modern transport networks etc...

The military threat from the US sounds inoperable to me. OPEC could suddenly come to life. Think about it : the pretext for the US would be to open up Venezuela's oil to the "free market". Are the other sovereign oil producers going to stand by and watch, with the idea that they may be next on the list? An OPEC production strike, or even the threat of one, would quickly bring the US to its knees. What actual concrete use is all that military power then?

Hi everyone, long time lurker here on TOD.

Luís de Sousa, thank you for this fine piece on the moves from Portugal in the tightening global oil markets.

I guess Galp is somehow managing to achieve good results, benefiting from our historic relations with some of the new players in oil. However i have a pessimistic view of the medium to long term prospects of some of these agreements. As the volability of world oil markets increases i'am not sure that guys like Chavez, or whoever is in is place, are going to keep their word.
Calling off agreements seems nothing new in those politically turbulent areas. And Chavez saying that the Orinoco bitumen is much more like light sweet crude don't inspire me any confidence at all.

Being an exclusively importer of crude oil and an exporter of refined products, Portugal and Sines refinary seems to be in a good position to get a share of the market of distribution of this Orinoco oil and the deep water oil in Brazil (if we ever get to those 7000m deep oil) adding to partnerships in Angola.

What i don´t get, is that besides this good moves, we are planning to spend wealth (and energy) that we don't have nor produce, to built a gigantic new airport at Alcochete, especially when the prospects for the future of civil aviation are so grim. Not to talk about the TGV, especially the line between Lisboa and Porto wich will only subtract 20 minutes to the alredy in place and baddly used high speed rail. I'm almost certain that these huge investements are not going to be made, and not because our silly government realizes that they are not usefull, but because we simply don't have the capital to do them.

As you say in a comment we are at risk of being again isolated from the rest of Europe due to high energy prices.
Maybe we can get the caravel technology back up and sail into our future ;).

Sorry for my English. Best regards.

Hello all!

I've been an faithful reader of the Oil Drum for some time (the best and most realistic website in the world about peak oil!). Only now I decided to make my first comment! I choose this post make it because it's about my country (Portugal)... and I want to ask Luis de Sousa his opinion about something: Do you think these agreements and Galp's quota in Santos Basin will lower fuel prices in Portugal when the oil starts to reach our shores? why? After all Venezuela has the cheapest gas around!

Overall I think this move was a smart political one.

I've been very worried about this peak oil thing, which I was only truly aware about it 5 months ago... it worries me a lot and made me think and question the entire civilization... since than I've been reading a lot about this, and in a sence getting ready for things to come... whatever they'll be...

The last weeks have been daunting! Oil prices just keep on rising with no signs of slowing down dispite the economic crisis! Things are happening faster than I expected.

You and your multi-disciplinar knowledge is very important, because the energy problem is very complex with a lot of variables, so keep up the good work! Some of your research is much better than those of so called experts.

I contribute to a local newspapper. In my amateur research of the problem and in the crucial task of informing the masses I'll write an article about oil prices next month. My main problem is saying a lot in a few words!


Not to talk about the TGV, especially the line between Lisboa and Porto wich will only subtract 20 minutes to the alredy in place and baddly used high speed rail.

Sardinha I agree with everything except the "badly used" because the Lisboa-Porto line has lots of people

keep up the good work


OFF-TOPIC: Let´s do a little census: Who is Portuguese? Me, Luis de Sousa, Sardinha and Teralek..That´s it?

Me too!

Pico do Petroleo is from Rio Tinto, I haven't seen around for a while, though.

Btw, if anyone needs to reach me personally (issues with language, etc), please check my profile.

Bem vindo ao TOD:Europe. I hope you fell at home here and stay arround.

As for your question, not a chance. GALP is a private company owned in majority by foreign capital (ENI group), why would they sell their oil cheaper to us? These agreements are only a way of securing supply and at the same time valuing these companies.

As for the railway Lisbon-Oporto line, if there's a high speed in place apparently it doesn't make much sense to build another. The problem is that the line currently in place is too slow connecting the two cities in almost 3 hours; not much faster than by coach. So the TGV connection, that has been publicized as connecting the two cities in 1h15, will be an upgrade (I don't know where sardinha got those 20 minutes). Unlike the connection to Madrid, it's a questionable investment, the best thing would have been if the present high-speed line had been built correctly.

With five months on I believe you are now past the shock phase. If you can raise some awareness that's the best place to start. Keep in touch.

I doubt the airport at Alcochete will ever be built. It may be just wishful thinking, but I suspect the reality of Peak Oil will reach the mainstream media before the first stone is ever put on the ground.

Might the new airport serve as a portal to the EU for South America ?

Fly from Rio or Caracas or Lima on a 787, and transfer at Alcochete to the TGV to go onto Madrid, Paris or Frankfort ?

Much higher oil prices, but if renewable electricity is significantly cheaper than aviation fuel ...

Just speculation,


Nice to see you around, your English is perfect (at least to me ;))

That airport is perfect joke, and a bad taste one. But I don't worry too much about it, by the time building activities are set get started it will be obvious it is a very wrong option. I can soundly conclude it will never be built.

I worry with all the monies spent on endless studies about its location, impacts and so forth. At the same time we have some of the best renewable energy prospects in Europe that are yet to be properly developed.

I also worry with the political class pushing forward these insane projects, transmitting to the public the wrong message of plentiful fossil fuel supplies.

On the TGV, check my comments above. How did you get to that 20 minute difference?

Hi everyone, especially the portuguese, very few but always present

This is my first post here.

I’m a TOD reader since the end of 2006. Already been throug the schock phase some long ago.

I’ve a question (rhetorical?) for Luís: Is by any chance the Portuguese government and Galp aware of Peak Oil? I ask this because a representative of the portuguese governement, the Energy and Industry Secretary of State, Mr. António Castro Guerra assisted to the Conference of ASPO that took place in Lisbon (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation – no coincidence here I believe) in 2005 (yes my portuguese new comers, a conference about peak oil took place in 2005 in Portugal) so I think someone knows something (at least I think they kept the powerpoint presentations).

In one side the steps that are been taking are the ones that could be take to try to delay the problems that lie ahead (Galp is in Angola and Brasil, two growing exporters) and making these contracts with PDVSA with the blessing of the portuguese prime-minister, as a substitute of the the oil that was coming from México – I don´t no if this statment is correct, were we importing from México? I really don’t know but Galp’s CEO Ferreira de Oliveira said not long ago that México was no longer a reliable source – again could this mean that someone knows something?

On the other side the rest: a new TGV line(s), a new Airport (probably we betther send the last muse letter of Richard Heinberg about air travel to the portuguese prime-minister) and the lack of vision for everything else.

Luis, thank you very much for your excellent work. You’re beginning to sound a plausible candidate for the place of Secretary of PostPeak Affairs :)

Keep up the good work.

Um Abraço


Bem vindo ao TOD:Europe.

Several interesting questions, all the evidence points to the fact that the European executives in general are aware of Peak Oil – that is something that has been confirmed by both Michael Meacher and Yves Cochet.

As for their inaction, that's where the Oil companies set in. It is very easy to show up before the government and say: “Peak Oil? Oh yes, but don't worry, that's decades way, in the meantime we guarantee a proper supply of liquid fuels to the country.”. It's only when the prices go up that these people start thinking twice about it.

I believe you are familiar with the depletion models presented by Partex in 2005 at the ASPO conference. That's the kind of mental framework within which these folks think. Any one with a minimum education on the subject would call those models a dream, wishful thinking.

I have contacted all the leading parliament members of each party elected in the region I vote (Setúbal). I got answer from only one (Fernando Negrão) saying that we'd look into it and get back to me. Three years later I'm still waiting.

As for Mexico I wasn't aware of that. GALP imports oil from various locations but I don't know exactly which. The project at Orinoco should be producing only ten years from now, so it doesn't look like a short term option if indeed GALP is in trouble by Mexico's decline.

As for Secretary of State, I would be really happy if there's simply a State post peak.

Most of our imports come from Middle east. Imports from Mexico are almost zero:


Thank you for the link to the presentation.

Here goes a extract of the mentioned news from 18-9-07 that can be found in


Venezuela, stressed, is the largest western oil producer and Galp is in a process of diversification of energy sources of its imports.
"We would like the American continent in future be responsible for supplying a third of our energy needs, another third of Africa and the rest of the Middle East," said Ferreira de Oliveira.
In this scenario, Venezuela becomes an option to appeal, since oil production in Brazil, a country where Galp has interests in production is mainly for domestic consumption.
Already imports from Mexico, traditionally an important source, have been falling, according to the chairman of Galp.

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