The Venezuelan petroleum industry: A year of turmoil

The future of Venezuela's oil and gas industry depends on a new Venezuelan leadership, according to Luis Vielma, former managing director of production Pdvsa.

The future of Venezuela's oil and gas industry depends on a new Venezuelan leadership, according to Luis Vielma, former managing director of production Pdvsa.

The new leadership must embrace new principles and values, be capable of executing a new modern energy policy to attract foreign investors, strengthen its national investor, exploit oil and gas reserves, and respect its people and institutions.

Vielma spoke on Venezeula's petroleum industry crisis at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston on May 7. Starting with the country's first oil export in 1539 through present day, Vielma explained how Venezuela and Pdvsa's "internal environment" changed over the years and finally culminated with the national oil stoppage in December of last year. Since December, more than 18,000 employees have been dismissed and the country's oil production is well below capacity.

A constitutional referendum will be held Aug. 19 to vote on shortening the presidential term, which would force President Hugo Chavez out of office and appease his opponents who accuse him of economic mismanagement and authoritarian rule.

05/07/03

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