Arnaldo Salazar Raffalli*
September, 2006 / October 24, 2005
Venezuela has been a very reliable energy supplier since the 1920's when a gigantic oil field was discovered in the Lake Maracaibo Area.
From the beginning of the oil era private international corporations operated the oilfields an by paying several forms of taxes compensated the Venezuelan State , through the years,several changes in the laws had the tendency to increase the profit for the government . Also the gradual increase of Venezuelan born technical and management personnel led to the nationalization of the industry in 1976 creating Petroleos de Venezuela SA that after a few years became an international giant in the oil business managing all phases from exploration tthrough production , refining and international marketing that included the acquisitions of foreign refineries both in Europe and America.
In the last four years PDVSA has changed its business view drastically emphasizing political agreements country to country, or with state oil companies and additionally with the huge loss of valuable personnel becoming a dwarf corporation vis a vis the multinational corporations.
Potentially Venezuela still is and should continue to be a very important actor in the energy business, if the conventional oil production is kept at around 2 000 000 barrels per day, if the extra heavy Orinoco Belt reserves are in effect certified and developed and if the natural gas projects onshore and offshore are developed we are looking at a bright future provided that the proper partners are found and investments are accomplished.The present midterm program should be revised thoroughly to present a more realistic view.
The energy industry should be liberated from political influences in the operating side and the laws and regulations should be crystal clear to provide foreign investors the security found in most countries where hydrocarbons are located regardless of their form of government.Let us hope that Venezuela will continue to be a reliable energy supplier througout this century for the benefits of our granchildren and their grandchildren.
* Arnaldo Salazar Raffalli
Petroleum Consultant, Founder and Director Inemaka SA, Past President PDVSAMarine, Past Director PDVSA, Past Director Lagoven