Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Could political change in Venezuela hurt Alberta's oil sands?

A looming political shake-up in Venezuela could have big consequences for Alberta's oil sands, opines a recent blog entry on Alberta Oil Magazine's website.

"What does Venezuelan politics have to do with Alberta and the oil and gas industry? Plenty," writes Darren Campbell.

Campbell's short analysis keyed off a recent item in Foreign Policy, which documented the health and political troubles of current President Hugo Chavez.

The leader recently announced his cancer may have come back, forcing him to go to Cuba for treatment.

"That bodes ominous for his attempt to hold back a groundswell of apparent support for Henrique Capriles, his 39-year-old opponent in October elections," writes Steven LeVine.

The reason a political upset in Venezuela could affect Canada, is that Chavez has notoriously mismanaged his country's massive oil reserves, estimated to be the world's largest.

"And if Capriles can get his country’s act together when it comes to oil and gas production, Venezuela has a lot of oil, particularly heavy oil, that could flood the market and attract foreign investment at the expense of Alberta’s oil sands," Alberta Oil's Campbell speculates.

As one Venezuelan expert contacted by Campbell argued: "Canadian companies should be paying attention to Venezuela. It is a potential threat to their efforts to reach the Gulf of Mexico (in addition to the Obama administration’s doubts about the Keystone pipeline)."

But, the unnamed expert added, a burgeoning Venezuelan oil industry could also be a "potential lucrative market for heavy oil technology."

Geoff Dembicki reports on energy and climate issues for The Tyee.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus