Oil in Venezuela By Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez
VOICE OF THE PEOPLE
Published July 10, 2007
OIL IN VENEZUELA
I object to your characterization of Venezuela's recent purchase of a majority stake in Orinoco belt reserves as a "power grab" by President Hugo Chavez (Editorial, July 3). The recent acquisitions should not surprise those familiar with the Venezuelan oil industry, which was nationalized more than three decades ago and has since maintained, and hoped to maintain, productive relationships with foreign investors.
ConocoPhillips chose to leave Venezuela and is actively negotiating with PDVSA the appropriate compensation for its assets. Meanwhile several other private companies based in the U.S. and elsewhere remain in the lucrative oil region accepting the Venezuelan government's new investment scheme.
The ConocoPhillips pullout is not indicative of conflict between the U.S. and Venezuela. In fact, despite diplomatic challenges, business relations between our countries are better than ever.
For its part, PDVSA is managing just fine, balancing investments in exploration and development with spending on social programs essential to the poverty reduction effort in Venezuela.
To those concerned about PDVSA's future, I would simply point out that it has been in the business for much longer than many other oil companies.
Bernardo Alvarez, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the United States, Washington