A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

PDVSA says it will continue with Chavez legacy

06 March 2013, Caracas – Venezuelan state-owned oil company, PDVSA, says it will continue on the path charted for it by late President Hugo Chavez, who passed on, Tuesday.

The company said it stood with oil workers across the nation as the South American oil powerhouse entered seven days of official mourning after Chavez lost his battle with cancer on Tuesday.

“We’re knee on the ground around (Hugo) Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution,” said company president and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez.

Ramirez was quick to tie-in the future of Venezuela’s economy, politics and society with the oil industry, following on from Chavez’s nationalisation of the country’s main earner.

“The key to driving the oil industry is in the hands of his hundred thousand valiant men and women who have demonstrated their loyalty to the [Chavez] in all processes in which we participate.”

Signaling a lack of intent for seeking change in the country’s oil industry, Ramirez added: “That situation will not change.”

He continued: “In the oil industry we stand with…Chavez and his legacy. Chavez was a leader who belonged to the whole world and transcended

Recounting Chavez’s moves to take control of oil resources solely under Venezuelan government’s wing, Ramirez vowed that PDVSA will “protect the people’s will”.

“We will not violate the extraordinary legacy that is the president’s oil policy,” defying any opposition calls to privatise the company.

“Oil is the People,” he said defiantly. “This is a principle rooted in the national consciousness since the time of the liberator Simon Bolivar, when he decreed that the Republic owned its natural resources and which [Chavez] reinstated.”

Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in a national broadcast Tuesday that Chavez passed away on Tuesday at 16:25 local time.

The 58-year-old populist easily won a new six-year term in an election last October, promising to continue the socialist revolution he had led for the previous 14 years.

Not long after the October election, Chavez travelled to Cuba where he underwent a total of four operations for a cancer that was first detected in mid-2011 in his pelvic region.

He had not been seen in public since December 2012 after his most recent surgery. He missed his inauguration ceremony in January.

A snap election is expected to take place within 30 days with Maduro seen as the early favourite to replace Chavez. The eyes of international oil companies as well as governments will be training on the country to see if there will be any improvement in relations to make use of the largest oil reserves in the world.

A report from maritime security analyst Gray Page, written just before Chavez’s death, said: “Investors in Venezuela’s oil, gas and shipping industries would be wise to watch the price of crude oil closely and put aside concerns over the question of future leadership in Venezuela.”

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