Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Venezuela Searches for Partners to Sell Petroleum Products

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Venezuela Searches for Partners to Sell Petroleum Products

Article excerpt

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Ten years after nationalizing its oil industry, Venezuela is now eager to find international partners to help sell its petroleum products.

Energy Minister Arturo Hernandez Grisanti said Wednesday night that the Venezuelan government wants to amend the Oil Nationalization Law, which reserves all petroleum dealings to the government.

The Caracas newspaper El Nacional reported Thursday that President Jaime Lusinchi had told a meeting of Venezuelan newspaper publishers that Venezuela would take all necessary steps ""to internationalize our oil.''

Such a move would be a sharp reversal from the prevailing view of the mid-1970s, when oil prices appeared on a non-stop upward course. But with demand for oil sluggish and prices well below the record levels of 1981, oil producers around the world are looking for ways to expand their share of a shrinking market.

Venezuela already has embarked on a joint venture with Veba Oel of West Germany.

The government-owned Petroleos de Venezuela and Veba are partners in Ruhr Oel, a refinery in Gelsenkirchen, West Germany, that processes about 100,000 barrels of Venezuelan crude oil daily.

Veba officials said the 50-50 partnership will enable Venezuela to gain a 5 percent share of the West German oil market and reap ""an interesting profit.''

Hernandez said eventual new deals not only would aim for joint-ownership in refining operations, but also leasing contracts, marketing agreements and other options.

Last month, the government's oil business signed a contract with the Netherland Antilles government to lease a refinery in Curacao, 40 miles off Venezuelan shores, that until recently was owned by the Royal Dutch-Shell Group of Companies. …

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