04 June 2009 23:22 [Source: ICIS news]
(Adds confirmation from government official)
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--?xml:namespace>
A proposed law would would permit joint ventures with the private sector in the industry, as long as the state has the controlling stake, said Angel Rodriguez, the president of Venezuela's national assembly's energy and mines commission.
Those joint ventures would be subject to approval by the national assembly, he said.
Rodriguez said the state would also retain total control over Pequiven, the state-owned petrochemical company.
The law would declare all petrochemical-related operations as “public utility”, part of a plan to tighten President Hugo Chavez’s grip over the economy, according to press reports.
Calls to Pequiven, and to the Venezuelan embassy in
Brazilian petrochemicals producer Braskem, which has joint projects with Pequiven in Venezuela, would not comment on the situation.
The PP plant is scheduled to be operational in 2011. The cracker was initially planned to start operating in 2012, but Braskem recently said the project was behind schedule.The law passed its first reading in the national legislature on Thursday and will be debated further on Tuesday, reports said.
The planned takeover of the petrochemical business follows Chavez’s ongoing nationalisation of oil companies in recent weeks. In the past month, Chavez has ordered the seizure of property from at least 74 oilfield services companies, reports said.
The Venezuelan government has also seized control over 14 natural gas compression plants, according to reports.
Additional reporting by Ben DuBose and Hellen Berger
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