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“If we are to talk about a minimum price per oil barrel within the OPEC price band, 22 dollars is already too far behind. From now on, we should talk about a minimum of 30 U$ per barrel and a maximum price that varies according to the conditions of supply and demand; but we can not set a maximum price. The previous band (between 22 and 28 U$ per OPEC barrel) is history. An important issue to continue to defend and to discuss is the solidity of the oil prices”, he said.

Chávez thanked the role played by a great oil exporter like Russia in the recuperation of the oil prices, despite the fact that it is not an OPEC member. “We can never allow the price of oil to go down again”, he said; and to sustain his point, he explained that a price of 50U$ per barrel today is equivalent to the buying power of 10 or 12 U$ per barrel 30 years ago.

The president presented before the Russian oil entrepreneurs, the several investment opportunities in Venezuela. “What’s the greatest potential that both countries have?”. First, the morale of our peoples; and second, our oil. Venezuela wants to put all this potential at the service of Russia, of the Russian people, and of the Russian government, in order to go further ahead in our strategic alliance”, he said.

He commented that both Russia and Venezuela have competitive advantages, and mentioned as an example, oil extraction in the Orinoco oil belt, that makes of Venezuela the country with the world’s largest oil reserves. “There is heavy and extra-heavy oil. Russia has experience in this area, and the new Venezuelan Hydrocarbons Act establishes several ways for the participation of the private sector in oil production. We want to offer you, Russian oil entrepreneurs, all the facilities for you to come with us, Venezuelan businessmen, Pdvsa (the Venezuelan state owned oil company), and the government, to carry out ambitious projects in the oil belt. There is a whole world ahead in investments”, he explained.

His exposition also included the Pdvsa expansion plan to increase its current production of 3.145 million barrels per day. Expectations are that Venezuela will increase its oil explorations, production, and commercialization, in order to meet the market demand.

Chávez also spoke about the promising future for Venezuelan gas. The Russian businessmen found out, by word of the Venezuelan president, that the Venezuelan gas reserves are the largest in America and the eighth largest in the world.

He noted how the investment in gas by the Spanish company Repsol YPF, starts to render excellent results after the location of a well that produces 35,000 cubic feet per day out of one of the wells. “We expect Russia not to lag behind in the search for Venezuelan gas. We want to get ahead with Russia too, because that is part of our economic and political strategy: diversification of our businesses”, said president Chávez, who added that other strategic lines are refining and petrochemical development.

Published in Quantum N.42