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Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com: Royal Dutch Shell Seeks More Investments In Venezuela

From The Associated Press
 
CARACAS (AP)–Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) says it is interested in more investments in Venezuela to extract heavy oil despite moves by President Hugo Chavez’s government to impose tighter terms on major oil companies operating here.

Shell CEO Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer, who was in the Venezuelan capital this week seeking to expand opportunities for the Anglo-Dutch company, met with Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez on Wednesday.

Van der Veer told Rodriguez that Shell was interested in extracting and upgrading heavy crude in the Orinoco River belt, identifying it as an area with “long-term investment possibilities,” the government quoted him as saying in a statement.

Venezuela currently boasts the largest proven oil reserves outside of the Middle East – 80 billion barrels – but believes it may actually have much more locked in the Orinoco’s deposits of tar-like, unconventional heavy oil.

Four projects in the Orinoco currently extract and upgrade heavy oil into 600,000 barrels a day of lighter, more marketable crudes.

Shell Venezuela President Sean Rooney said earlier this year that his company is interested in bringing the technology it uses to extract unconventional oil in Canada’s tar sands to the Orinoco. Venezuela has agreed to study the possibility.

The interest comes amid efforts by Chavez’s nationalist administration to take advantage of high oil prices to extract a greater share of revenues from the industry, such as by hiking tax rates and royalties and requiring companies to join state-controlled joint ventures.

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