Chavez, Cabinet Grant New E&P Joint Ventures Final Approval

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez and his ministers approved on Tuesday (June 13) afternoon the decrees authorizing the creation of 21 new E&P joint ventures between state oil firm PDVSA and several foreign and domestic private oil firms, PDVSA reported.

Energy and oil minister and PDVSA president Rafael Ramirez told reporters upon leaving the meeting. The new JVs substitute operating agreements for the same fields.

"The [previous] agreements were outside of organic hydrocarbons law and against our national interests since they compromised our sovereignty over our main asset," Ramirez was quoted as saying. The official also stressed that companies participating in these new JVs pay more taxes than under the previous arrangements.

Ramirez said the JVs are producing some 500,000 barrels of oil a day.

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