Oil companies sticking with Venezuela

Venezuela has taken ownership and control over dozens of privately developed oil fields, but major foreign companies aren`t leaving.

Rather than negotiating, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez simply decrees new rules and tells the multinationals to take it or leave it, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Oil companies have accepted his conditions because they can still make profits and get access to Venezuela`s vast oil reserves when most of the world`s oil is off-limits, the newspaper said.

Venezuela sits atop the largest reserves in the hemisphere. Its main attraction is in the Orinoco River basin, where hundreds of derricks pump a sticky black gunk that used to be too expensive to extract and refine.

New technology and prices topping $70 a barrel, however, have made the heavy oil profitable, and the Orinoco belt is now considered the future of Venezuela`s industry.

'These wells will provide oil for the next 350 years,' said John Flores, a technician for the state oil company, reports Monsters&Critics.

I.L.