Responses to the Coup d'etat in Honduras on Sunday June 28, with special emphasis on producing English-language versions of commentaries by Honduran scholars and editorial writers and addressing the confusion encouraged by lack of basic knowledge about Honduras.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gasoline Subsidies Again

The de facto government of Roberto Micheletti has again restored the government subsidies of the price of gasoline and diesel in Honduras. Under Manuel Zelaya the government had been able to withdraw the subsidies and guarantee fairly stable prices through the agreement with Petrocaribe to supply the national supply.

Since the coup, Petrocaribe cut the de facto government off from this oil supply, and it has resorted to the open market, buying from Shell, Chevron, Texaco, etc. at market rate. To try and shield the Honduran market from the rapid price fluctuations of the spot fuel market, it has gradually been reintroducing price supports into the formula that controlls the price of fuels in the country.

Today, the minister of Commerce and Industy, Benjamin Bogran, announced that the government would be absorbing one half of the real increase in the cost of fuel. The real international reserves have fallen below $2000 million. Its not clear where this unbudgeted fuel subsidy is coming from. Could Micheletti be spending without budget support, as he accused Zelaya of doing?


cadejo4 said...

Does anyone know what Honduras was/is buying from PetroCaribe? I looked for this information and could only establish that the government was buying bunker (resold to private electricity generation plants), but I'm not sure it ever bought diesel or gasoline from PetroCaribe.

RNS said...

I can confirm that news stories since the coup have indicated they were buying not only bunker fuel for thermo-electric power plants, but gasoline and diesel as well.

Sometime during September I read a report in La Tribuna that noted that Petrocaribe has not been paid for the last two shiploads of oil products to Honduras, one offloaded in Tela, and one offloaded in Trujillo. The one to Tela was for a thermo-electric power plant, but also included gasoline and diesel for the same consortium's gas station chain.

The oil was not paid for because the government had, at that point, not transmitted the bill to the private companies. The government paid Petrocaribe for the fuel, but had not yet billed the private companies that purchased it, effectively subsidizing them several million dollars.

I have not been able to establish if Petrocaribe was also suppling LPG.