Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Venezuela seizes last private oil fields

The American Left's hero Chavez as finalized the communist/socialist move of nationalizing the countries oil fields.

From the AP:
President Hugo Chavez's government took over Venezuela's last privately run oil fields Tuesday, intensifying a struggle with international firms over the development of the world's largest known petroleum deposit.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez declared that the Orinoco fields had reverted to state control just after midnight. Television showed oil workers in hard hats raising the flags of Venezuela and the national oil company over a refinery and four drilling fields in the Orinoco River basin.[snip]

Chavez also is in the process of nationalizing Venezuela's electricity companies and its biggest telecommunications company, and he threatened a month ago to take over private hospitals if they continued raising prices for health care.[snip]

In Orinoco, Chavez says the state will take a minimum 60 percent stake in the operations, but he is urging the foreign companies to stay and help develop the fields. They have until June 26 to negotiate the terms, including compensation and reduced stakes.

The companies appear to be taking a tough stand, demanding conditions — and presumably compensation — to convince them that Venezuela will be a good place to do business.

Chavez better be careful, he needs the oil company's technical expertise and investment in exploration and expansion. Unless China has the expertise, which nobody knows, and is willing to steep in, he just may be hanging himself. So, he needs the companies to stick around as minority shareholders.

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