Sept 7, 2005 (VenezuelAnalysis.com) - As announced by President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's national oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), will ship this month approximately one million barrels of Venezuelan gasoline directly to the United States in the wake of the horrible devastation and destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.
The announcement was made by Venezuela's Ambassador to the United States, Bernardo Alvarez.
This volume is in addition to PDVSA’s normal shipments to the United States.
“Venezuela is privileged to be able to help the United States in this time of need. We see ourselves as a compassionate people and hope that our efforts will help cope with current market needs of the U.S. for gasoline, and provide some immediate relief to the victims of this horrific natural disaster,” said Ambassador Alvarez.
According to a press release by the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC, four additional shipments of gasoline, totaling over 960,000 barrels, taken from storage and diverted from other customers, will be sent to and distributed by PDVSA’s wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, CITGO Petroleum Corp. (CITGO), and will supplement PDVSA’s previously scheduled shipments to CITGO in September of 1.2 million barrels of petroleum.
Each of the four additional gasoline shipments will be sent from Venezuela to CITGO during the following time frames: September 14-16, September 23-25, September 28-30, and September 29-October 1.
According to the Embassy, with shipping time from Venezuela to the U.S. Gulf Coast only four to five days, these shipments from Venezuela will arrive much more quickly than cargoes from Europe, the Middle East or Asia and, hence, will be able to meet U.S. needs that much sooner.
Venezuela is the fifth largest provider of petroleum products in the world and the third largest provider to the United States.
For some months last year, Venezuela was the largest supplier of oil to the United States, surpassing Saudi Arabia, Canada and Mexico.
President Chavez also offered up to five million dollars in monetary aid, two mobile hospital units, each capable of assisting 150 people, 120 specialists in rescue operations, 10 water purifying plants, 18 electricity generators of 850 KW each, 20 tons of bottled water, and 50 tons of canned food, in order to help in the relief efforts.
CITGO is providing medical assistance, food and water to 5000 people at its refineries in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Corpus Christi, Texas.
Volunteers at CITGO's Houston headquarters have provided similar help to some 40,000 victims, according to Venezuelan officilas.
Operations of Venezuela's Consulate in New Orleans, which coordinates relief efforts for affected Venezuelan, have been moved to CITGO facilities in Lake Charles.
U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, hailed Venezuela's offer as "impressive and welcomed," but was quick to reject President Chavez's criticisms of the U.S. government handling of the crisis.
In 1999, Chavez rejected U.S. aid during the crisis generated by unprecedented rain and mudslides in the northern Venezuelan state of Vargas, which caused thousands of deaths.