Actually, the offshore division had been operating in an experimental way, but now we will establish it officially, in order to create its departments, develop its organization, and obtain resources. It will start out with 15 engineers who had been working in the Sigma and Gran Mariscal projects.

The Business Plan presented before the investors last week, seeks to expand the exploration activities in order to increase the current hydrocarbon reserves in Venezuelan subsoil from 78 billion barrels to 881 billion. The extraction activities will make it possible to increase production from 3.143 million bpd (barrels per day) to 5 million bpd by 2008, in order to supply the markets in the Caribbean, Central and South America; eventual demands that may come up from Asian countries, especially Japan, India and China, as well as the demands from European nations, and the traditional clients.

Félix Rodríguez indicated that the 2004-2009 Business Plan includes a global investment of 37 billion $, of which 26 billion will be required for exploration and production. Out of this amount, 19.350 billion are Pdvsa investments; the remaining 6.65 billion are shared investments with third parties.

The major investments will be made in the Criogénico de Occidente (Cryogenic of the West of Venezuela), in the electric plant of the West of Venezuela, in Jose 250, in San Cristóbal, in San Tomé, in the Tomoporo project, in the Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho project , and in the Delta area.

Rodríguez Araque pointed out that within a year, an investment between 300 and 400 million $ would be made for the activities of extraction and development of the Sigma project near Güiria. As for the Gulf of Venezuela, there are estimations of investments between 200 and 300 million $. In total, the projected Off Shore investments in the Plataforma Deltana (Delta Platform) are estimated in 700 million $ for the next two years.

The estimated yield of the Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho and the Plataforma Deltana is 700 million additional cubic feet of gas by 2007 or 2008, once the wells have been bored and the installations have been built.