Venezuela assumes control of Orinoco Oil Belt

Digital Granma International

CARACAS, June 26 (PL).—The nationalization of the Orinoco Oil Belt concludes today in Venezuela with the constitution of joint ventures with a state majority share.

In this way the four associations for processing heavy and extra-heavy crude, which together produce around 500,000 barrels per day, have been converted into enterprises with Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) as the majority shareholder with a minimum of 60%.

With this decision the Venezuelan authorities have closed the so-called oil opening, considered by the National Assembly as a covert privatization of the country’s principal natural resource.

Given the possibility that some of the foreign enterprises might not accept the new regulations, President Hugo Chávez recently stated that PDVSA could take over control of the Orinoco Oil Belt and, moreover, the country has other allies in the world.

Venezuela is currently undertaking a certification process of crude in the belt with the participation of 13 foreign enterprises, which should make that nation the first oil reserve in the world by 2008.

With the 140 billion barrels estimated to be found in that region, Venezuela’s reserves should reach 316 billion barrels that can be extracted with current technology, estimated at 20% retrieval.

Translated by Granma International

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