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PDVSA, joyau pétrolier du Venezuela loin de son âge d’or

PDVSA, joyau pétrolier du Venezuela loin de son âge d’or

Pilier de l’économie vénézuélienne, PDVSA était, à son âge d’or, l’un de cinq premiers groupes pétroliers de la planète. L’entreprise d’Etat est désormais au plus mal et ses difficultés financières l’ont fait tomber en défaut de paiement partiel.

Le groupe avait l’espoir que le rebond des cours du brut, ces derniers mois, l’aide à remonter la pente. Mais les agences de notation S&P Global Ratings et Fitch l’ont sanctionné cette semaine.

Pour avoir payé avec retard deux échéances de 1,169 milliard et 842 millions, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) est considéré en défaut de paiement partiel, tout comme le Venezuela.

Le destin de l’entreprise, fondée en 1976, est intimement lié à celui du pays, dépendant à 96% du pétrole pour obtenir ses devises.

Et ses obligations représentent 30% de la dette extérieure du Venezuela, estimée autour de 150 milliards de dollars, que le gouvernement cherche à renégocier.

Pour le président socialiste Nicolas Maduro, les difficultés sont dues à la chute des cours de l’or noir, divisés par deux depuis 2014, et aux sanctions du gouvernement américain, qui interdit à ses citoyens de négocier toute nouvelle dette du Venezuela ou de PDVSA.

Mais de nombreux économistes, comme César Aristimuño, soulignent que “le problème, c’est la production”, à son plus bas niveau depuis les années 1990 (si l’on exclut la grève observée entre décembre 2002 et février 2003).

Actuellement, le Venezuela produit 1,9 million de barils par jour, contre 2,27 en 2016. Avant l’arrivée d’Hugo Chavez au pouvoir en 1999, le chiffre était de 3,1 millions de barils quotidiens.

Les recettes ont suivi le même déclin, passant de 122 milliards de dollars en 2014 à 72 milliards en 2015 puis 48 milliards en 2016.

Il y a dix ans, la lettre spécialisée Petroleum Intelligence Weekly classait pourtant PDVSA parmi les leaders mondiaux du secteur, plus puissant encore que les géants Shell ou Chevron.

Comment expliquer une telle dégringolade? Pour les experts, c’est la faute au manque d’investissements dans l’exploration et l’entretien des installations pétrolières.

“PDVSA est pratiquement l’unique source de devises de l’économie vénézuélienne et le gouvernement a tout dépensé sans s’occuper des investissements pétroliers”, critique Risa Grais-Targow, directrice pour l’Amérique latine du cabinet Eurasia.

Une banque

La manne du groupe a principalement servi à financer d’énormes dépenses publiques et un déficit budgétaire qui avoisine les 20% du PIB.

“PDVSA est ruiné. Pourquoi? Parce qu’il est devenu une banque”, souligne José Gonzales, directeur du cabinet de consultants GCG Advisors.

A partir de 2005, l’entreprise est venue alimenter un fonds gouvernemental à hauteur d’environ 130 milliards de dollars au total selon l’économiste Orlando Ochoa.

Pour constituer ce fonds, le budget était élaboré sur un prix du pétrole inférieur à la réalité, explique ce spécialiste à l’AFP.

Selon la société parapétrolière Baker Hughes, le Venezuela ne compte plus que 39 puits actifs, contre 83 en octobre 2013. Cela menace la “capacité d’améliorer la production”, observe l’expert Jesus Casique.

Les prix repartent depuis quelques mois et le brut vénézuélien dépasse désormais les 55 dollars le baril, son niveau le plus élevé depuis 2015 même si l’on reste bien loin de son cours moyen en 2014 (88,42 dollars).

Mais PDVSA a beaucoup perdu en efficacité. Le groupe a vu ses effectifs exploser, passant de 40.000 à 150.000 employés en 18 ans, et produire un baril lui coûte 40 dollars, souligne José Gonzales.

La corruption est un autre fléau. La justice enquête notamment sur la surfacturation de jusqu’à 230% de 10 contrats d’un montant de 35 milliards de dollars et la falsification des chiffres de production.

PDVSA est au coeur des alliances géopolitiques de Caracas: 36% de sa production sert à rembourser des prêts envers la Chine et la Russie, ainsi qu’à l’envoi de brut vers Cuba et les Caraïbes dans le cadre d’accords de coopération, selon César Aristimuño.

Seule une portion infime alimente le marché intérieur, où l’essence est vendue au prix le plus bas au monde: un kilo de viande coûte autant que 75.000 litres d’essence.

C’est pourquoi, souligne M. Aristimuño, le pays dépend plus que jamais des 750.000 barils quotidiens que lui achètent les Etats-Unis, au moment où Washington augmente sa pression contre le gouvernement de Maduro.

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control flow is shown in the answer area.
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