UK energy firm BP received a lawsuit from lawyers representing 73 Colombian farmers who allege their lands were contaminated because BP did not follow adequate environmental procedures during the construction of an oil pipeline.
Colombia reportedly began dialogue on the pending free trade agreement with the US again during a visit by US Congressman Sander Levin to Colombia on Jan. 12.
As of Jan. 19, oil workers in Puerto Boyaca, Boyaca dept had been on strike for 9 days to demand salary increases, bonuses for drilling workers and social investment in the regional communities. Approximately 2,700 workers were protesting against firms Manzarovar Energy Colombia, Lavadin, Ecopetrol and Ocensa.
An IED exploded on a railway line belonging to a coal mining company in Albania, Guajira dept. Two men were sought in connection with the incident.
Under the national electric sector law, electricity rates will be revised annually to update their real value and could be increased.
A report by Venezuelan investigative police (CICPC) indicated that kidnappings in Anzoategui state had been reduced by 20 percent.
Venezuelan Interior and Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami suggested that firearms should be in the hands of the Venezuelan gov’t to ensure public safety and said that stricter controls for the purchase of firearms should be implemented. (Sending this along because it could affect private security companies, although there’s no indication yet that any controls will occur).
According to the president of the Venezuelan College of Engineers, up to 90 percent of roadways in eastern Venezuela could be in poor condition due to recent rains and flooding.
Members of the US House of Representatives sent PDVSA a letter on Sept. 24 warning of sanctionable activities being carried out with Iran. According to the letter, PDVSA should inform the US gov't if it decides to cease its trade activities with Iran.
Chavez called during the Jan. 9 Alo Presidente broadcast for land expropriations to increase for the construction of housing. He called for a commission to be formed and for the militia to occupy land that its abandoned.
Venezuela has approved the payment of $562 million in debts to Colombia and has released $300 million, according to Venezuelan ambassador to Colombia Ivan Rincon.
Venezuelan state-run oil firm PDVSA reduced its 2010 investment plan by 61 percent, according to its most recent financial report. The total amount invested was $11.5 billion.
Venezuela opened a development fund for $20 billion with the China Development Bank. $6 billion of the fund's money willl be directly administered by the Venezuelan presidency.
According to information provided by Chavez during his address to the National Assembly, 7000 megawatts (28.5 percent) of the generation capacity of Venezuela's national electrical grid, is unavailable.
Members of militias and the Ministry of Agriculture met to draw up a 2011 food sovereignty plan.
According to the text of the Banking Law reform approved in Dec, the president may decree bank interventions, liquidations or "any other necessary measures" over banking institutions or their assets.
(From our sitrep on this) Venezuela warned local governments and state-run companies to pay overdue electricity bills or have their services cut off, Reuters reported Jan. 11. Electricity Minister Ali Rodriguez said the money collected by Corpolec, the state electricity company, covered only half of the payroll for its employees in a year of severe power shortages and debt is close to $930 million. "One of the objectives is to raise collection to cover the operational costs of the national electricity system, not only the payroll," Rodriguez told state news agency AVN.
The Ecuadorian gov't is analyzing the possibility of removing fuel subsidies gradually. Initial studies have shown that removing these subsidies would have a consumer price index increase of 31.8 percent.
The Ecuadorian gov't began negotiations with oil firms over the price per barrel of oil from several marginal fields. Technical negotiations for service contracts at these fields reportedly ended on Jan. 15.
The Ecuadorian Interior Ministry assumed control of the assets, finances and legal administration of the national police by presidential decree (this is included from a viewpoint of political stability, it’s probably something good to include in the NEPTUNE report).