Venezuela's energy opportunities rest on political climate, new legislation

The drilling mast is raised on the first rig to work on the Conoco Inc.-led Petrozuata project in the Orinoco oil belt. It is the first of several megaprojects led by foreign oil companies to exploit Orinoco extra-heavy crude. The outlook has clouded for such foreign investments in Venezuela's oil and gas sector under the new government. Photo courtesy of Conoco.Click here to enlarge imageIn December 1922, a huge blowout in the Los Barrosos-2 well in one of Venezuela's Bolivar Coast oil fields became an economic watershed for that nation. A steady high column of oil bursting skyward for 10 consecutive days, at an estimated rate of 100,000 b/d, attracted the attention of the entire w...

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