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PDVSA event builds confidence in Venezuela outlook ( Houston, May 2003 ).-

After participating in a conference hosted by Petroleos de Venezuela, executives in the energy industry expressed a high degree of confidence in the recovery and future growth of Venezuela's energy business. More than 400 business executives and leaders in the financial, governmental and academic sectors participated in the conference, “PDVSA, a Competitive and Sustainable Player in the International Energy Business,” in Houston.

“PDVSA offered a very compelling case in three areas -- the speed with which they are reviving their operations, the opportunity for foreign investment – clearly the country is open to investment – and a particularly strong case for the country as a whole,” said Vahan Zanoyan, president and CEO of PFC Energy, based in Washington, D.C. “They made the point that social justice and economic development in Venezuela are not contradictory.”

The conference focusing on the political, legal and financial situation of Venezuela and its oil industry was led by a high level Venezuelan delegation headed by Mr. Bernardo Alvarez, Ambassador from Venezuela to the United States; Mr. Luis Vierma, Deputy Minister of Hydrocarbons; Dr. Ali Rodriguez Araque, President of PDVSA; and Mr. Luis Marin, Director of PDVSA.

In his remarks to the group, Alvarez stressed the country's commitment to both internal and external stakeholders. “Venezuela stands today proud of its role as a reliable supplier of energy to all nations, proud of its commitment to remain an open and market economy in which private capital can be invested with assurance, proud of its commitment to social justice, and proud of its understanding that social justice and private sector gains are compatible goals.”

Dr. Rodriguez Araque, noting the country's abundant resources and newly competitive business portfolio, asserted, “Jointly with our partners, we are committed to satisfying the world's increasing demand for oil and gas.”

Jim Ellington, U.S Representative from Mississippi and chairman of The Energy Council, commented that the mood of the event “exuded confidence.”

“The enthusiasm came through not just for a return to normalcy in Venezuela, but for continuing improvement,” Ellington added.

“The event gave those attending a good understanding of what's happening in Venezuela, and the sense that it may be the place to invest right now,” said Joseph Carraro, a state senator from New Mexico.  

Even those already involved in Venezuela came away with a renewed confidence. Diana Szilard, manager of external affairs for ConocoPhillips Venezuela, Ltd., pointed out that ConocoPhillips is one of the largest current investors in the oil industry in Venezuela. “It is very interesting and encouraging to hear about the plans and business that PDVSA has for the future,” she said. “We encourage this kind of initiative because it keeps the oil community informed.”

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