Country Analysis: Venezuela

Jan 08, 2003 01:00 AM

Venezuela is important to world energy markets because it holds proven oil reserves of 77.7 bn barrels, plus billions of barrels of extra-heavy oil and bitumen. Venezuela consistently ranks as one the top suppliers of US oil imports and is among the top ten crude oil producers in the world.

After two years of modest economic growth in 2000 and 2001, the Venezuelan economy entered into recession in 2002. The country's economic downturn has been propelled by both a loss of business confidence and the devaluation of the bolivar, which has lost almost half of its value since being allowed to float freely in February 2002. With both the oil and non-oil sectors of Venezuela's economy contracting in 2002, the country's real gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to fall by 6.7 %, to $ 96 bn, for the year.
Heavy government spending has precipitated a growing fiscal deficit that the country is struggling to ameliorate. Venezuela's 2002 federal budget, adopted in early 2002, called for a 22 % nominal reduction in spending over last year's budget, based on an average price for Venezuelan oil of $ 16 per barrel (implying an OPEC basket price of around $ 18.50 per barrel).

The Venezuelan economy is extremely oil-dependent. Oil accounts for more than three-quarters of total Venezuelan export revenues, about half of total government revenues, and about one-third of GDP. Prior to the country's year of crisis, increases in oil prices had been helping Venezuela and could allow some relaxation in tight budgetary restrictions. However, this has not been a good year for Venezuela's Macroeconomic Stabilization Fund (FIEM).
The FIEM fell to $ 3.3 bn in early October, down $ 6.2 bn from the start of 2002. Meanwhile, Venezuela's international reserves also fell sharply during 2002. As of early October, reserves had fallen to $ 11.5 bn, a decline of more than $ 12 bn for the year.

President Chavez has announced that Caracas will access resources from the FIEM (established with the goal of providing a cushion during any future hard economic times) as well as $ 1 bn in foreign exchange profits to close the fiscal gap, but many observers suspect that Venezuela had also ramped up its oil production prior to the political unrest beginning in December. While the government denies breaking its OPEC quotas, press reports indicate that Venezuela could have been exceeding its OPEC quota by approximately 400,000 bpd. Venezuelan crude oil is more heavy and sour than US benchmark West Texas Intermediate, (WTI) and generally trades about $ 4 below WTI.
On December 2, 2002, opponents of President Chavez organized a nationwide strike to call for an early referendum on the President's rule. As of mid December, the strikers have nearly shut down the country's oil industry, drastically reducing the production of Venezuelan oil and its delivery to internal and external markets. President Chavez has declared the strikers' demands unconstitutional and has enlisted the help of the military to maintain production. President Chavez was elected in 1998 and recently survived an attempted coup in April 2002.

Oil
Venezuela is home to the Western Hemisphere's largest conventional proven oil reserves at 77.7 bn barrels, as of January 2002. Substantial extra-heavy oil and bitumen deposits are not included in this total. During the first nine months of 2002, Venezuela produced an estimated 2.9 mm bpd, down almost 170,000 bpd from 2001 annual production figures. Of this 2.9 mm bpd, about 466,000 bpd were consumed domestically, while the remaining 2.4 mm bpd were exported. About 1.4 mm bpd (58 % of total exports) were shipped directly to the United States during the first nine months of 2002 (note: this does not count crude oil sent to the Caribbean, refined there, and then re-exported to the United States).
Venezuela has ranked consistently in the last several years as one of the four top sources of US oil imports (along with Canada, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia). Venezuelan exports to the United States peaked in 1997 at about 1.8 mm bpd. While total US petroleum imports have risen by about 1.5 mm bpd since 1997, imports from Venezuela have decreased by about 300,000 bpd. In 1997, Venezuelan oil accounted for more than 17 % of total US oil imports, compared to just 12 % during the first nine months of 2002.

Besides being a major supplier to the United States, Venezuela also provides significant quantities of oil to its neighbours in the Caribbean Sea. Under the auspices of the San Jose Accord, Venezuela and Mexico provide eleven Central American and Caribbean nations with a total of 160,000 bpd of crude oil and products under preferential terms.
The San Jose Accord was originally implemented in 1980 and is renewed annually. In addition, Venezuela supplies Cuba with 53,000 bpd of oil with favourable financing under an agreement signed between President Hugo Chavez and Cuban President Fidel Castro in 2000. Trade with Cuba has at times been contentious, and oil shipments to Cuba were temporarily halted after the attemptedcoup in April 2002 that briefly ousted President Chavez. Shipments to Cuba resumed in September 2002.

Venezuela also supplies major Caribbean refineries with significant quantities of crude oil, the two largest being the 495,000-bpd Hovensa refinery on St Croix, and the 320,000-bpd Isla Refinery on Curacao. Some of the Venezuelan crude processed at these refineries is then marketed for export, with an estimated 200,000-300,000 bpd coming to the United States.
Over the past few years under President Chavez, cuts in State Oil Company PdVSA's budget (down 28 % in 2002), combined with a lack of adequate foreign investment and a policy of strict adherence to OPEC quotas, has crimped the company's ambitious long-term expansion plans. According to a five-year plan released in late February 2001, PdVSA aimed to raise the country's crude oil production capacity to 5.5 mm bpd by 2006 (Chavez had previously planned to reach capacity of 5.5 mm bpd by 2008). This now appears unrealistic.
EIA estimates current capacity at about 3.1 mm bpd.

PdVSA
Venezuela nationalized its oil industry in 1975-1976, creating Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PdVSA), the country's state-run oil and gas concern. PdVSA is one of the world's largest oil companies and is by far Venezuela's largest business and employer. The company controls Venezuela's oil and gas sectors as well as the country's coal industry through its subsidiary Carbozulia. PdVSA works with foreign investors in Venezuela under the country's hydrocarbons law of November 2001, which stipulates that PdVSA hold a 51 % stake in any new exploration and production agreement.
The privatisation of PdVSA is banned under Venezuela's 1999 constitution. PdVSA also plays an important role in Venezuelan politics. Besides being Venezuela's largest employer and responsible for approximately one third of the country's GDP, PdVSA is also run by presidential appointees and has seen five different directors during President Chavez's tenure.

In February 2002, the appointment of Gaston Parra to the company's presidency along with the appointment of five new board members incited unrest amongst the company's workforce. On March 8, 2002, management and labourers at PdVSA organized a 4-hour strike, followed by a series of work stoppages to protest the political reshuffling of the company's management.
The PdVSA strike later turned into a general nationwide strike, which served as the catalyst for the brief overthrow of President Chavez. In April 2002, Ali Rodriguez was appointed president of PdVSA. Ali Rodriguez had previously served as the president of OPEC, and prior to that as Venezuela's minister of energy and mines.

As of mid-December 2002, the nationwide strike which began on December 2, has severely compromised PdVSA's operations, with many wells reportedly unmanned, refineries operating at partial capacity, and oil tankers waiting at sea to berth. On December 5, PdVSA was compelled to declare Force Majeure on the export of petroleum products and on December9, the Venezuelan national guard took over gasoline distribution throughout the country.
Also on December 9, seven of PdVSA's eight highest executives submitted their resignations to President Chavez (all except Ali Rodriguez). Venezuela and OPEC Venezuela, a founding member of OPEC, regularly exceeded its OPEC-agreed oil production targets prior to Chavez’s December 1998 election.

In a major policy reversal for Venezuela, the Chavez administration negotiated with Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC member Mexico to rein in production. These negotiations precipitated the 1998-1999 OPEC production cuts that saw oil prices rebound in 1999, after hitting historic lows.
Since his election, Chavez has maintained a policy of strict adherence to OPEC quotas. This requires PdVSA to shut in production, filling storage facilities, reducing production at existing fields, and reducing investment and total production capacity. OPEC-10's current output ceiling of 23 mm bpd allots Venezuela 2.5 mm bpd of production.
Inthe past, PdVSA has adjusted its own production to ensure that Venezuela as a whole meets its OPEC production targets. Thus, during periods of OPEC production cuts, private companies operating in joint ventures with PdVSA could maintain steady output. However, that policy has changed, as some private producers have been asked to hold in production.

US refiner Lyondell is suing PdVSA, charging that PdVSA violated a crude oil supply agreement. Lyondell is seeking $ 90 mm for a 30-mm-barrel deficit in PdVSA deliveries to the refinery between April 1998 and September 2000. PdVSA enacted the cut to aid in OPEC compliance Exploration and Production Venezuela has four major sedimentary basins: Maracaibo, Falcon, Apure and Oriental.
These fields contain reserves of 77.7 bn barrels of conventional oil, most of which has an API gravity of less than 20 degrees, making Venezuela's conventional crude oil heavy by international standards. Due to the maturity of many of these basins and their declining productivity, PdVSA plans to spend $ 45 bn to increase production at the country's existing oil wells, as well as to develop new non-conventional extra heavy crude oil and natural gas resources.

Extra heavy crude oil
Venezuela contains billions of barrels in extra-heavy crude oil and bitumen deposits, most of which are situated in the Orinoco Belt, located in Central Venezuela (estimates range from 100 bn to 270 bn barrels of recoverable reserves). There are four congressionally approved joint ventures between PdVSA and foreign partners to develop extra-heavy crude oil. All four projects aim to convert the extra heavy crude from approximately 9 degrees API crude to lighter, sweeter synthetic crude, known as syncrude.
These projects normally produce about 450,000 bpd of synthetic crude oil (this is expected to increase to 700,000 bpd by 2005), much of which is destined for the US Gulf Coast. Syncrude is considered by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to be "non-conventional crude oil."

Venezuela's four congressionally approved extra-heavy crude oil joint ventures are currently at different stages in their development. The first project, Conoco's Petrozuata, produces extra-heavy crude oil from the Zuata region of the Orinoco Belt for transport to the port of Jose on Venezuela's northern coast.
Conoco owns and operates two parallel 130-mile pipelines with capacities of 200,000 bpd to transport production from its wells and others in the region. Heavy crude oil is blended with a lighter crude oil for pipeline transportation to an upgrading facility. The upgrading facility processes the heavy oil into a higher value synthetic crude oil (with an API range between 19 degrees and 25 degrees), and associated by-products: LPG; sulphur; petroleum coke and heavy gas oil. As production increases, pipeline capacity could be expanded to 500,000 bpd. Since 1997, Petrozuata has drilled more than 320 wells in 55,000 acres of the Zuata region, and production is currently 120,000 bpd.

ExxonMobil and PdVSA's joint venture at the Cerro Negro extra-heavy oil field started production in 2001. Extra-heavy crude oil from Cerro Negro is diluted with naphtha and routed northward via pipeline to an upgrader complex at the port of Jose. The project's upgrader at the Jose complex processes 120,000-bpd of extra heavy crude oil into approximately 108,000 bpd of syncrude and by-products (sulphur and coke). Some of the syncrude is then exported to the partners' 180,000-bpd Chalmette refinery, located in Louisiana, near New Orleans, where the oil is refined and sold in US markets.
Germany's Veba Oil and Gas was also a 16 % partner in the upstream component of the project, but in January 2002, began the process of selling its international assets to Petro-Canada.

TotalFinaElf and Statoil are partners with PdVSA in the Sincor project, which began production in February 2002 and has been producing about 140,000-160,000 bpd of oil in recent months. Production is expected to plateau at 200,000 bpd, with about 35 years of operation.Sincor's extra-heavy crude is upgraded at a facility in the Jose complex, and then marketed for export, similar to the Petrozuata and Cerro Negro projects. Sincor's syncrude output comes in two grades, Zuata Sweet and Zuata Medium.
ConocoPhillips' and ChevronTexaco's joint venture with PdVSA, the Hamaca project, came onstream in November 2001 and is currently producing about 30,000 bpd of extra-heavy crude, most of which is diluted and shipped to refineries in the United States. Peak production of about 190,000 bpd is expected after an upgrading facility at the Jose complex is completed in early 2004. The crude will be upgraded to about 26 degrees API, and the field is expected to pump for about 34 years.

Orimulsion
Orimulsion is a branded product that is used as a boiler fuel, similar to #6 fuel oil. It is an emulsion of approximately 70 % natural bitumen, 30 % water, and less than 1 % surfactants (emulsifiers). Bitumen is considered a non-oil hydrocarbon and is not counted towards Venezuela's OPECcrude oil production quota. Burning Orimulsion in conventional power plants produces emissions of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide roughly similar to emissions from fuel oil.
Bitor, a PdVSA subsidiary, manages the processing, shipping and marketing of Orimulsion. Bitor now operates one Orimulsion plant in Cerro Negro, with a capacity of 5.2 mm tpy, and hopes to produce 20 mm tpy by 2006. According to Bitor, more than 1.2 tn barrels of bitumen exist in the Orinoco Belt. Economically recoverable reserves are now estimated at about 267 bn barrels. Canada, China, Denmark, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, and Lithuania either consume or are considering consuming Orimulsion.

Refining
PdVSA operates one of the Western Hemisphere's largest refining systems and is one of the world's largest oil refiners. Domestic refinery capacity stands at about 1.3 mm bpd, with significant additional holdings in Curacao, the United States (in Lake Charles, Lemont, Corpus Christi, Paulsboro, Savannah, and Lyondell), and Europe (in Germany, Sweden, Belgium, and the United Kingdom).
About one-third of Venezuela's refined product exports are exported to the United States, where they are distributed mainly by Tulsa-based Citgo, PdVSA's US refining and marketing subsidiary, and one of the largest US gasoline retailers.

Natural gas
Venezuela has proven natural gas reserves of about 147.6 tcf, the second largest in the Western Hemisphere (behind the United States) and the eighth the largest in the world. Current plans call for exploration to increase Venezuela's proven reserves. The country produced about 1 tcf in 2000.
Domestic demand is relatively low (about 1 tcf was consumed in 2000), largely because Venezuela's highly developed hydropower industry thus far has precluded the use of natural gas for power generation. About 60 % of the country's gas production is consumed by the oil industry, which either re-injects the gas into oil fields or flares it. About 10 % of Venezuela's natural gas is used for power generation; 6 % in petrochemical production; and the rest is used mainly by industrial or commercial customers in large cities. The Chavez administration has plans to increase both natural gas production and consumption.

Sector organization: PdVSA and private companies
The natural gas unit of PdVSA traditionally has had a monopoly on Venezuelan natural gas production, allowing for only a few joint ventures. However, in August 1999, legislation opened up the country's natural gas sector to foreign investment in exploration and production, distribution, transmission, and gasification (although no company would be allowed to explore, produce, and transport in the same region). Venezuela held its first non-associated natural gas exploration licensing round in 2001, and licenses were awarded to TotalFinaElf, Repsol-YPF, Inelectra, Otepi, PlusPetrol, and Perez Companc.

Exploration and production
In February 2002, PdVSA launched the Deltana Platform project in an effort to tap Venezuela's unassociated offshore natural gas resources. The Deltana Platform, which is located off of Venezuela's Atlantic coast near Trinidad, could contain up to 40 tcf of natural gas. PdVSA's $ 4 bn project aims to produce 1 bn cfpd of natural gas both for domestic consumption and for export. The government has enlisted the help of foreign oil companies to develop the Deltana Platform in conjunction with PdVSA.
In July 2002, the project's first test well began producing at a rate of 50 mm cfpd and in August 2002, the government signed preliminary agreements with ChevronTexaco, British Gas, TotalFinaElf and Statoil allowing the companies to bid for involvement in each of the Deltana Platform's five blocks. Awards for the first four blocks were expected by the end of 2002. Given the political unrest in Venezuela in December 2002, an announcement concerning the licenses has not been forthcoming.

The Mariscal Sucre LNG project, a re-vamped version of previous projects, is a joint venture of PdVSA, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Mitsubishi. The partners aim to construct a 4 mm-tpy LNG production train (more trains are expected to follow) that will be fed by as-of-yet untapped natural gas reserves off the Paria peninsula as well as the Deltana Platform.
In January 2002, PdVSA unilaterally increased its share of Mariscal Sucre from 33 % to 60 %, and in February 2002, discussions began that could lead to Qatar's inclusion in the project. The partners hope to have the project onstream by 2007.
Completion of the Mariscal Sucre LNG plant will mark Venezuela's entry into the global LNG export market.

Pipelines
Existing Venezuelan natural gas infrastructure consists of 3,000 miles of domestic pipeline. The country has no natural gas export pipelines.
In July 2002, PdVSA, and the Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol completed a joint feasibility study on the construction a $ 150 mm natural gas pipeline that would carry between 150,000 and 200,000 mm cfpd from Colombia's Guajira fields, to western Venezuela beginning in 2005. PdVSA has suggested that in the future the direction of the pipeline flow might be reversed in order to allow it to serve as the first tranche in a pipeline system to export Venezuelan gas to other countries in Central and South America.

Coal
Venezuela has recoverable coal reserves of approximately 528 mm short tons, most of which is bituminous. Venezuela is the second largest producer of coal in Latin America, after Colombia. Production in 2000 amounted to 9.3 mmst, almost all of which was exported to other countries in the region, the eastern United States, and Europe. Domestic consumption in 2000 was only about 450,000 short tons.
The Guasare Basin, near the Colombian border, is the major coal producing region in Venezuela. Coal production has been limited during the last several years by infrastructure and transportation constraints. The government announced in April 1999 intentions to increase production of high-quality coal to 21 mm tpy by 2008. Venezuela'scoal sector is dominated by Carbozulia, which is owned by PdVSA.

Electricity
Venezuela has about 21 GW of electric generating capacity. Venezuela has one of the highest electrification rates in Latin America at over 90 %, and Venezuelans are the highest per capita users of electricity in Latin America.
Venezuela generated 80.8 bn kWh of electricity generation in 2000, 77 % of which was hydropower, while the remainder was oil- and to a smaller extent natural gas-fired. Increased demand in coming years will be met with a combination of natural gas and oil as well as hydropower. The proportions of hydropower to thermal power are expected to remain constant. Venezuela is home to the world's second largest operational hydroelectric dam (after Itaipu in Paraguay/Brazil), the 10,000-MW Raul Leoni dam on the Caroni River.
Venezuela typically generates excess power. Venezuela's grid is joined with Colombia, allowing trade between the two countries. In August 2001, an electricity interconnection between Venezuela and Brazil was inaugurated at Santa Elena de Uairen, Venezuela. The transmission line links Santa Elena de Uairen to Boa Vista in Brazil. The power is generated by the 12,500-MW Guri hydroelectric plant in Venezuela.

Sector organization
The Venezuelan electricity sector is a mixture of state-owned utilities, comprising the majority of the sector, and some private companies. State-owned utilities include: Electrificacion de Caroni (EDELCA); Cadafe, which includes Cadela, Elecentro, Eleoriente, Eleoccidente, Desurca, and Semda; Enelven/Enelco, and Enelbar. Private companies include: Electricidad de Caracas (EDC), with subsidiaries C.A. Luz Electrica de Venezuela (CALEV), C.A. Luz Electrica de Yaracuy (CALEY), and C.A. Electricidad de Guarenas y Guatire (ELEGGUA); Electricidad de Valencia (ELEVAL); Electricidad de Ciudad Bolivar (ELEBOL); Luz y Fuerza Electrica de Puerto Cabello (CALIFE); and Empresa Electrica de Nueva Esparta (SENECA), on Margarita Island.
EDELCA is the largest generation company in Venezuela, generating over 70 % of the country's electricity. It operates the Guri plant on the Caroni river with an installed capacity of 10,000 MW, the world's second largest operational hydroelectric plant, and the 3,080-MW Macagua plant. EDELCA is also developing two new facilities on the Caroni River, Caruachi and Tocoma.

The Caruachi hydroelectric dam project, which entails a 2,160-MW power plant located between Guri and Macagua is scheduled to begin operation in 2003 and will increase Venezuela's electricity generating capacity by about 11 %. The 2,160-MW Tocoma hydroelectric dam will be EDELCA's fourth dam on the Caroni River and is scheduled for completion by 2010. Venezuela's second largest state generating company is Cadafe. The country's largest private sector generating company is ELECAR.
Electric sector privatisation was underway when the current administration came into power, but has since been delayed. As a final preparatory step before sales commence, the government had planned to "unbundle" electricity companies by September 2001, separating firms into generation, transportation, distribution, and marketing units. This unbundling now has been delayed indefinitely.

Generation
After a decade of under-investment in Venezuela's electricity sector, the country now is facing a potential electricity crisis. Analysts have predicted a shortfall of about 8 bn kWh in 2002. In February 2002, the Venezuelan national electricity system began operating with reduced frequency and tension to conserve energy.
The immediate reasons for the power shortfall include reduced hydropower capacity and electricity theft. Low rainfall levels have decreased hydropower capacity (as in neighbouring Brazil), with diminished levels in reservoirs.
Fossil fuel-fired generation is not expected to be able to make up the difference. Rampant electricity theft also is straining the infrastructure, with illegal hook-ups accounting for an estimated quarter of Venezuela's total consumption. The government reportedly has been pressuring private electricity companies to continue serving non-paying customers.

Environment
Venezuela's environmental problems include pollution and deforestation. Pollution from energy production and consumption is high relative to Venezuela's neighbours, as production is the mainstay of its economy and consumption is heavily subsidized. Therefore, it emits more carbon than many of its neighbours.
Its use of non-hydro renewable energy sources is low. Addressing the high levels of energy intensity and pollution will present major environmental challenges for Venezuela.

Country overview
President: Hugo Chavez Frias (since December 1998)
Independence: July 5, 1811 (from Spain)
Population (7/02E): 24.3 mm
Location/size: Northern South America/352,144 square miles, slightly more than twice the size of California
Major cities: Caracas (capital), Maracaibo, Valencia, Maracay, Barquisimento
Languages: Spanish (official), Indian dialects in the interior
Ethnic groups: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African, indigenous people
Religions: Roman Catholic (96 %), Protestant (2 %)
Defence (8/98): Army (34,000), Navy (15,000, including 5,000 Marines), Air Force (7,000), National Guard (23,000)

Economic overview
Currency: Bolivar official
Exchange rate (4/01/02): $ 1 = 1,291 bolivars
Gross Domestic Product (2002E): $ 96 bn
Real GDP growth rate (2002E): -6.7 % (2003F): 2.6 %
Inflation rate, % change in consumer prices (2002E): 22.6 % (2003F): 33.2 %
Unemployment rate (2002E): 13.7 %
Major trading partners: United States, Colombia, Germany, Japan, Canada, and Italy
Major export products: Petroleum and derivatives (80 %), aluminium (4 %)
Major import products: Capital goods (20 %), consumer goods (20 %), and raw materials (60 %)
Foreign debt (2001E): $ 33 bn

Energy overview
Minister of Energy and Mines: Alvaro Silva Calderon
Head of PdVSA: Ali Rodriguez
Proven oil reserves (1/1/02E): 77.7 bn barrels (not including extra-heavy oil and bitumen)
Oil production (January-September 2002E): 2.9 mm bpd, of which 2.65 mm bpd was crude
OPEC crude oil production quota (effective 1/1/03): 2.497 mm bpd (up 150,000 bpd from January 1, 2002)
Oil consumption (2002E): 466,000 bpd
Net oil exports (January-September 2002E): 2.4 mm bpd
Crude oil refining capacity (1/1/02): 1.28 mm bpd in Venezuela, with almost 2 mm bpd of capacity in the Caribbean, the United States and Europe
Major Crude Oil Customers: United States, Canada, Germany, Spain
Oil exports to the United States (January-September 2002E): 1.4 mm bpd (not counting around 200,000-300,000 bpd of Venezuelan crude refined in the Caribbean and then sent to the United States)
Natural gas reserves (1/1/02E): 147.6 tcf
Natural gas production/consumption (2000E): 1.0 tcf
Coal reserves (2000E): 528 mm short tons
Coal production (2000E): 9.3 mmst
Coal consumption (2000E): 0.5 mmst
Electric generation capacity (2000E): 21 GW
Electricity production (2000E): 80.8 bn kWh (77 % hydroelectric)

Environmental overview
Minister of Environment and Natural Renewable resources: Ana Elisa Osario
Total energy consumption (2000E): 2.7 quadrillion Btu* (0.7 % of world total energy consumption)
Energy-related carbon emissions (2000E): 35.4 mm tons of carbon (0.6 % of world total carbon emissions)
Per capita energy consumption (2000E): 112.3 mm Btu (vs. US value of 351.0 mm Btu)
Per capita carbon emissions (2000E): 1.5 tons of carbon (vs. US value of 5.6 tons of carbon)
Energy intensity (2000E): 34,113 Btu/$ 1995 (vs. US value of 10,918 Btu/$ 1995)**
Carbon intensity (2000E): 0.44 tons of carbon/thousand $ 1995 (vs. US value of 0.17 tons/thousand $ 1995)**
Sectoral share of energy consumption (1998E): Industrial (64.4 %), transportation (17.1 %), commercial (9.2 %), residential (9.3 %)
Sectoral share of carbon emissions (1998E): Industrial (64.6 %), transportation (25.4 %), commercial (4.4 %), residential (5.6 %)
Fuel share of energy consumption (2000E): Natural gas (42.04 %), oil (33.7 %), coal (0.5 %)
Fuel share of carbon emissions (2000E): Natural gas (55.6 %), oil (45.5 %), coal (0.9 %)
Renewable energy consumption (1998E): 621 t Btu* (2 % increase from 1997)
Number of people per motor vehicle (1998): 11.4 (vs. US value of 1.3)

Status in climate change negotiations: Non-Annex I country under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (ratified December 28th, 1994). Not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol.
Major environmental issues: Sewage pollution of Lago de Valencia; oil and urban pollution of Lago de Maracaibo; deforestation; soil degradation; urban and industrial pollution, especially along the Caribbean coast.
Major international environmental agreements: A party to Conventions on Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine LifeConservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands and Whaling. Has signed, but not ratified, Marine Dumping.

* The total energy consumption statistic includes petroleum, dry natural gas, coal, net hydro, nuclear, geothermal, solar, wind, wood and waste electric power. The renewable energy consumption statistic is based on International Energy Agency (IEA) data and includes hydropower, solar, wind, tide, geothermal, solid biomass and animal products, biomass gas and liquids, industrial and municipal wastes. Sectoral shares of energy consumption and carbon emissions are also based on IEA data.
**GDP based on EIA International Energy Annual 2000

Oil and gas industries
Organization, oil and natural gas: Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA, state-held), with some foreign companies involved in joint ventures;
Coal: Carbozulia, owned by PdVSA, with some foreign companies involved in joint ventures;
Electricity: Severalstate-held and private utilities
Major foreign oil company involvement: BP, Chevron, CNPC (China), Conoco, ExxonMobil, Pennzoil, Phillips, Repsol-YPF, Shell, Statoil, Texaco, TotalFina, Union Texas, and Veba Oel
Major domestic refineries (crude capacity-bpd) (1/1/02), PdVSA: El Palito, Puerto Cabello (126,900), Puerto de la Cruz (195,000), San Roque, Anzoategui (5,200); Paraguana Refining Centre: Cardon/Judibana, Falcon (940,000), Maracaibo, Zulia (15,000)

Source: EIA
Alexander's Commentary

A Future?

After a long editorial silence, it is time again for a comment on world affairs.

Whilst reading through the m

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