Meet Dr Emma Brossard, a petite, vibrant 76-year-old lady
who knows more about the oil and gas industry (especially
in Venezuela) than almost anybody alive.
But if there is one person who would be declared persona
non grata by Venezuela President Hugo Chavez in the morning,
that person would also be Dr Brossard.
Dr Brossard is on a short visit to Trinidad to see her first
son Todd Perterson, who is the vice president and country
manager of Suez LNG (Trinidad and Tobago) Ltd.
She was interviewed on Monday at the Suez LNG office at
the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce Building in
I still keep in touch with many of my friends, especially
several in the oil and gas industry, in Venezuela which
I love very much, I am never going back there, she
Chavez does not know one thing about the oil industry, but
he has taken it over as his very own and is giving away
the patrimony of the country as if it is his own.
Dr Brossard said she knew the writing was on the wall for
the Venezuelan oil industry when President Chavez chaired
a meeting of the board of directors of the state-owned Pdvsa
at Mira Flores, the presidents palace.
even the Minister of Petroleum would attend a board meeting,
she recalled. From then on, the industry could be
called Petroleos de Chavez.
Apart for a passion writing, which she learnt at the feet
of her grandfather whose major admonition was get
to the point, her other passion was teaching, which
she did for 18 years.
teach by analogy, and thats one of the reasons why
I gave up teaching, because it is very difficult to teach
by analogy now if students dont have a background
in history, literature, and geography, she said.
Dr Brossard noted the importance of an introductory course
in every subject to be taught where, with a good teacher,
the students mind is captured.
introductory course was Platos Republic, she
said, where the pattern of reasoning you learn from
the ancients is so basic to everything and it help you continue
to learn and the search for the truth never ends.
Dr Brossard was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, of a Venezuelan
mother and American father who was a lawyer and former Attorney
General of the State of Wisconsin. Her father was a pilot
who mapped a lot of Venezuela from the air.
She said that her family visited Trinidad almost every year
until 1940 while she was growing up in Venezuela, and one
of her brothers was born here.
After leaving primary school the family returned to Wisconsin
where her grandfather lived, to continue her high school
While her three boys have all been born in Venezuela, Brossard
was never a citizen, but remained an American.
heart and soul are in Venezuela, but I remain an American,
she said. And I love it that way.
However, it has been ten years since she left Venezuela
and she has no plans to go back. Why?
is so sad what Chavez has done to that beautiful country
and the destruction of that incredible country, and the
industry that I grew up in and worked for... that incredible
industry... no, I cant go back.
She said her first book on the oil industry took her seven
years to write with all the information on the industry.
really think that T&T has good reasons to be concerned
about Chavez and what he is proposing. There really are
no barrels (of gas) that they can spare for the Caribbean,
she said, adding that the supply of natural gas to North
America was also of significance.
She said that the production of crude oil was dropping in
Venezuela and there was a lot of associated gas that goes
with the production of crude. All of that natural gas has
been piped from the fields to get more production out of
the oilfields, the aluminium industry and into the major
She said it was a big joke with Chavez going around the
world giving away oil and signing contracts.
may send them a truckload of it and that would be it,she
said. Dont these people know what is going on
She said that Venezuelan oil fields had a depletion rate
of 25 per cent annually there had to be an investment of
US$3.4 billion a year to keep up its production.
since Chavez has become president there has been no investment,
not only that, he has fired the people who could have helped
him out. Theyre all gone. I only see the oil production
going down and they have ill-equipped people handling the
She said that Citco, the US$7 billion Venezuelan corporation
in Houston that owns refineries in the US, required 1.5
million barrels of oil a day but the country produces only
two million barrels a day.
Although Venezuela claims to produce three million barrels
of crude a day, she said that was not true, as Venezuela
has had to buy crude to supply to Citco and 100,000 barrels
a day is going to Cuba for the doctors.
TT/Venezuela natural gas deal was as much a pipedream as
Petro Caribe, she said.The purpose of Petro
Caribe is to buy votes in the UN and the OAS because Chavez
is more interested in the OAS than the UN.
She said that Venezuela, which has some of the best double-hulled
oil tankers in the world, was now suffering shipping problems
as the fleet was dwindling without being replaced, and it
has had to lease tankers.
had not been writing anything about Venezuela for a long
time, but when I see what is going on I have to start writing
again, she said.
Chavez, its going to take about 40 or 50 yearsthe
whole infrastructure will take a lot of moneyto clean
Dr Brossard said that corruption was phenomenal
in Venezuela, as Chavez and his government spent millions
on themselves and thousands of businesses have been closed
middle class, which is needed for a country to survive,
has been wiped out, she said, adding that it would
take a very strong person who was willing to risk his neck
to confront and overthrow Chavez, but doing that through
the voting process would be impossible since Chavez controlled
poorer classes are fully behind Chavez, she said.
As someone once said: Chavez really loves the poor
since he is making so many of them.