Petrobras: Won't Change Invest Plans Amid Venezuela News

SAO PAULO Jan 09, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Brazilian oil giant Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR), or Petrobras, will not change its investment plans in Latin America after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced he will nationalize key industries, including the energy sector, Petrobras Chief Executive Sergio Gabrielli said Tuesday.

"(This announcement) should not be a surprise to anybody ... He has been moving towards announcing this for some time," Gabrielli declared at an airport in Rio de Janeiro.

He added that there will be no alterations to the joint ventures with state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., or PdVSA.

"It's well known that we have a series of investments in common programmed, both there and here ... These deals don't change ... Furthermore, all our dealings in that country are under the 'mixed company' rules implemented in Venezuela last year," he said during a press conference.

On Monday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that his government aimed to nationalize the telecommunications and electric power industries and restrict central bank autonomy.

Petrobras and PdVSA have an agreement for the joint exploration of the Carabobo-1 block in Venezuela's Orinoco belt, as well as for the joint development of a refinery in Brazil's Northeast to process heavy oil from Orinoco and Brazilian offshore fields.

The two firms are also currently in talks about the joint development of Venezuela's Mariscal Sucre gas reserves, among other projects.

Gabrielli added that Petrobras is bidding for a tender to increase natural gas exports from Bolivia to Argentina, but did not provide any more details.

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