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Out with the old ...

Venezuela's national oil company, PdV, needs investment partners for its ambitious projects in the country's Orinoco heavy-oil belt. China's state-owned CNPC may be among them, writes Robert Cauclanis

ANXIOUS to reverse declining crude-oil output, Venezuela is offering its first new oil exploration and production (E&P) concessions in a decade – and the first of President Hugo Chávez' era. But having watched the government increase state control over other assets, few private-sector firms are likely to consider the large investments required. Chávez may have more luck with state-controlled companies. The grand plan is for Venezuela to boost total crude output to 5.8m barrels a day (b/d) by 2012. The government claims production is 3.3m b/d, but estimates by independent analysts and private-sector oil executives are significantly lower – mostly around 2.4m b/d (see Figure 1). El Univer

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