Venezuela's natural gas industry attracting investments

May 17, 1999 02:00 AM

Venezuela's natural gas industry could attract up to $ 1.2 bn in investments this year and more than $ 4.2 bn in the long term, according to PDVSA Gas president Domingo Marsicobetre during a forum in Venezuela's National Investment Promotion Council (Conapri).
The investment is dependent on the country advancing on such issues as a stable tax system for the gas sector and the establishment of a reliable price system. The government is actively working on these areas and could include the new Gas Law among new bills passed by president Hugo Chavez's recently approved Enabling Law, which gives him rule by decree on a number of different issues, Marsicobetre added.
The Gas Law would reduce tax to 34 % on exploration, production, transport and marketing, and create a new gas company, dependant of state oil company PDVSA, which would extract and promote gas sector investments and set a price policy.
The government is considering allowing private companies to export gas, which is prohibited under current Venezuelan laws, Marsicobetre added.

One of the benefits of opening the country's gas sector to private investment would be to allow private companies to market gas directly to residential customers in cities throughout Venezuela.
Currently only the Zulia and Anzoategui states, and the Metropolitan Area of Caracas have direct residential gas services. "Any city with more than 476,000 inhabitants could have direct gas distribution services," Marsicobetre added.

Source: BNA via Iinoil
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