An understanding of the workings of PDVSA requires a good grasp of petroleum economics, a field I was introduced to many years ago, when I was on the faculty of the Colorado School of Mines, and where I taught both petroleum and mineral economics. It was then that I had the good fortune to be befriended and mentored by the world’s greatest petroleum economist, the late Prof. M. A. Adelman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I mention this because it is only by learning Adelman’s lessons that we can make sense of the dodgy accounts of what is undoubtedly the world’s worst oil company: PDVSA.

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