- Before an audience of more than 1,200 delegates of 400 companies related to the hydrocarbon business, Alejandro Granado, Vice-president of PDVSA, advised in San Francisco, California, on the urgent need of increasing the refining capacity of the Atlantic Basin since the requirements for refined products will increase by 12 million barrels per day toward the end of the decade.

- “For the year 2008, the demand for products and the refining capacity will be at breakeven point, but with a high use factor that results in a quite precarious balance, since any disruption would generate a severe energy crisis worldwide,” Granado said.

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“When adding up all the announced expansions, there would still be a refining capacity deficit of 4.6 million barrels per day for 2010. Within this scenario, Venezuela is a key player in the world energy balance, as it has abundant oil reserves and a major active refining sector. In addition, Venezuela foresees undertaking major deep-conversion projects and construction of new refineries,” underlined Alejandro Granado, Vice-president of PDVSA, during his conference in the Annual Meeting of the National Petrochemical and Refining Association (NPRA) held in San Francisco, California.

Before an audience of more than 1,200 delegates of 400 companies related to the hydrocarbon business, Granado advised on the urgent need of increasing the refining capacity of the Atlantic Basin, since the requirements for refined products will increase by 12 million barrels per day toward the end of the decade. Of this volume, 48% corresponds to Asia, 32% to the American continent and 4% to Europe. “For the year 2008, the product demand and the refining capacity will be at breakeven point, but with a high utilization factor that results in a quite precarious balance, since any disruption would generate a severe energy crisis worldwide,” he said.

PDVSA’s Vice-president underlined that “we should do something and do it now”, since the construction of a new refinery takes from three to five years. In addition, relevant aspects such a geographic location, processing volumes, investments, human resources, technology, prices, product quality, and compliance with the increasingly rigorous environmental regulations have to be taken into account.

Thus, PDVSA is strongly investing in the development of deep conversion projects and promoting the construction of new refineries located close to the Orinoco Oil Belt, such as Caripito, Barinas and Cabruta, which would add up to a processing capacity of 500 thousand crude barrels per day. Likewise, the Venezuelan Corporation plans to increase its production capacity from the current 3.7 million barrels per day to more than 5 million barrels per day for the year 2009. This requires investments in the amount of US$ 37 billion, of which 74% (US$ 26 billion) would be provided by PDVSA and the remaining 26% (US$ 11 billion) by private investors.

Also, Venezuela is successfully developing important bilateral and business alliances aimed at promoting the energy integration of Latin America and the Caribbean, fighting against the scourge of poverty and underpinning the region’s sustainable development on the basis of complementarity, fair trade, solidarity and reciprocal cooperation.

“The integration of our region would allow us to take advantage of the wonderful potential of a market that includes more than 530 million inhabitants. Furthermore, more than 80% of the oil and gas reserves of the American continent are found in Latin America. This is the reason for the relevant Petroamerica initiative, proposed by the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, aimed at allowing to fully exercise the region’s energy sovereignty,” the Venezuelan top oil executive reiterated.

The strategic energy use by Venezuela to encourage a multipolar world has received a strong international support by the signature of agreements with Brazil, China, Russia, India, Iran, France, Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina, and Jamaica, among other countries, at the same time that several discussions on strategic alliances are underway with other governments and companies worldwide.

More than 50 companies from 18 countries are currently participating in the Venezuelan hydrocarbons industry. “This proves that Venezuela is a preferred partner and a secure and reliable international supplier. Likewise, Venezuela has a sound and transparent legal hydrocarbon framework, by which the participation of state-owned and private capitals, both national and international, is promoted with the purpose of ensuring the supply of energy from Venezuela to the world markets,” stated Granado.

Venezuela is the fifth world hydrocarbon exporter. It has the largest proven reserves of the Western hemisphere (77 billion of conventional oil barrels and 150 trillion cubic feet of gas). When the 235 billion of heavy and extra-heavy oil barrels of the Orinoco Oil Belt are added, the Venezuelan oil reserves would last 285 years at the current production rate of 3.1 million barrels per day. The total refining capacity of the country is 3.3 million barrels per day in 22 refineries (3 in Venezuela, 1 in Curazao, 9 in the USA and 9 in Europe).