Caracas can’t be the first to draw the comparison between the colloquial term for hydraulic fracturing and a somewhat similar-sounding curse word, but it is worth noting that the country’s ruling Socialist party is promoting an exhibit criticizing the American shale boom for its effects on the environment. Reuters reports:
Venezuela is not mincing words with a new exhibition titled “F—ing Fracking” that denounces the environmental toll of hydraulic fracturing in the United States. […]The event features speeches by an economist and oil expert, and will wrap up with a play, according to a half-page advertisement in newspaper Ultimas Noticias.The ad depicts a fractured heart dripping with black oil with dried up leaves coming from the arteries.
It’s easy to understand why Venezuela is unhappy with American shale production. After all, the flood of new crude coming out of the U.S. has contributed to the global oversupply that has led to the precipitous fall in oil prices, which has crippled Venezuela’s economy. Before the price crash, Caracas needed an oil price of at least $122 per barrel to balance its budget, and with crude now hovering around $60 per barrel, Venezuela is hurtling toward default.But while it publicly blames the United States for innovating its way back into relevance as one of the world’s biggest crude suppliers, privately Venezuela might be more concerned with its fellow OPEC member Saudi Arabia, which has insisted on not cutting production in response to the price slide, essentially consigning its fellow petrostates to budget crises while it weathers the storm on the back of an enormous sovereign wealth fund in a bid for market share. Surely Maduro has some four-letter words reserved for Riyadh as well.