“I think the close of this year will be very positive since our oil production has remained above 3.1 million bpd (barrels per day)”. Alí Rodríguez Araque, president of Venezuela’s state owned oil company, Pdvsa, said that according to the Investment Plan, average costs for this year are 40%, “ but a strong impulse is on its way, since investments for the first quarter are low”.

Félix Rodríguez, Pdvsa’s vice-president of exploration and production, indicated that by the close of the first semester of the current year, the corporation had spent 20% of its investment budget. He explained that “there had been a delay during that period because the rigs that were expected to begin operating in February, began in May and there was hence a diminution of the invested resources”. But he indicated that in the case of the operations budget, a higher value of 47% was spent.

Pdvsa Vice-President Rodríguez pointed out that in the first semester, 92 rigs were operating, 20 more than last year. He stated that the production capacity was at 3.7 million bpd, and “ thus, there is a potential”.

According to Vice-President Rodríguez, the levels of operations budget spending is reflected in the cost reduction. “The cost per barrel was 3.3$ and it is now at 2.5$. It’s likely that this cost reaches 2.7$ by the end of the year, but I have already said that we can’t spend more than what was programmed”, he said. Cost reduction represents overall savings of 10 billion Bs. per year.

The Pdvsa official affirmed once again that for the period between 2004 and 2009, the company’s investments are estimated at 19.567 billion $, and third party investments at 6.433 billion $, for a total of 26 billion $. Projected costs are 18.521 billion $ for projects in the West region of the country, 8.729 billion $ for the East region, and 704 million $ for the South Central region.

Mr Félix Rodríguez also said that 3,338 people have been incorporated to the industry since 2003, which amounts to a payroll of 13,672 employees, and does not discard the incorporation of 1,800 more employees, “which would enable the oil industry to complement its activities”.

During his presentation, Vice-President Rodríguez stated that the oil industry has paid the contractors and suppliers 5.1 trillion Bs: 2.1 trillion in the East region and 2.9 trillion in the west region.