sabato, gennaio 17, 2009

Chávez Lets West Make Oil Bids as Prices Plunge - NYT

Published: January 14, 2009

Chávez Lets West Make Oil Bids as Prices PlungeSIGN IN TO E-MAIL OR SAVE THISPRINTSINGLE PAGEREPRINTSSHAREBy SIMON ROMEROPublished: January 14, 2009CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chávez, buffeted by falling oil prices that threaten to damage his efforts to establish a Socialist-inspired state, is quietly courting Western oil companies once again.Until recently, Mr. Chávez had pushed foreign oil companies here into a corner by nationalizing their oil fields, raiding their offices with tax authorities and imposing a series of royalties increases.But faced with the plunge in prices and a decline in domestic production, senior officials have begun soliciting bids from some of the largest Western oil companies in recent weeks — including Chevron, Royal Dutch/Shell and Total of France — promising them access to some of the world’s largest petroleum reserves, according to energy executives and industry consultants here.Their willingness to even consider investing in Venezuela reflects the scarcity of projects open to foreign companies in other top oil nations, particularly in the Middle East.