British oil industry looks west to invest

Cutting edge oil companies with interests in the North Sea fields have been pitching for business in Venezuela, home to the largest reserves in the Americas.

Nine oil and gas companies from Britain, together with European colleagues from France and Denmark, sent delegates to the Latin American Petroleum Show (LAPS) this week, long accepted as an inroad into Venezuela's oil business.

This years show followed the announcement of state oil company PDVSA that it wishes to increase its annual production by 1.4million barrels per year, up to a total of 4.6 million barrels by 2010.

Venezuela has huge reserves of around 78 billion barrels, making it attractive to European companies.

Government-sponsored UK Trade & Investment organised the British party's trip, which built on ties made during a visit from a Venezuelan delegation to Aberdeen in June.

Trade Minister Ian Pearson said: "The potential to invest in Venezuela's oil reserves is greater than ever before.

"British expertise in dealing with harsh north sea conditions will be invaluable to the Venezuelans as they look to rapidly increase production.

"The products our companies were exhibiting range from logistics to engineering solutions.

"It is the breadth and depth of our knowledge that will be our greatest strength in this growing oil and gas market."

By Sam Bond



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