Venezuela Officially Launches "Petrochemical Revolution"
Mérida, September 24, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)- President Hugo Chavez officially launched Venezuela's "Petrochemical Revolution" on his national TV and radio program Aló Presidente yesterday. With an estimated investment of $20 billion, the president announced the development of a petrochemical industry in the country over the next five years, including the construction of a series of petrochemical plants and factories along with investment and technology from Russia, Iran, and Brazil.
"Venezuela is going to be a world power in petrochemicals," said Chavez from a petrochemicals complex in the state of Zulia. As part of the initiative to build the country's capacity in the production of goods from oil-derivatives and to take advantage of the country's huge oil and gas reserves, Chavez inaugurated the construction of a new ethylene and polypropylene plant at the complex near Lake Maracaibo.
Later in his record-breaking 8-hour show, construction was officially begun on several other petrochemical plants across the country, including a fertilizer plant in the eastern state of Anzoategui, as well as a petrochemical complex in the southwestern state of Táchira, and another in the central state of Barinas.
"Venezuela, producing oil for a century, never developed the petrochemical industry," said the president, criticizing the failures of previous governments. "When the Bolivarian Revolution came to power they were privatizing Pequiven (state petrochemical industry). The factories were abandoned. There was almost no production, almost no investment," he said.
Chavez explained that the development of a petrochemical industry, producing a variety of goods from oil derivatives, would help change the structure of the economy and would provide the country with a wide spectrum of nationally produced goods for domestic consumption and for export.
Chavez estimated that the initiative will require an investment of around $20 billion over the next five years and will create as many as 700,000 new jobs during the first phase that will end in 2013. The government plans to construct 87 large projects, 35 of them to produce raw materials to supply another 52 factories for the production of fertilizers, detergents, cosmetics, and other finished products. Chavez said the industry is also expected to significantly increase state revenues by the end of the first phase.
"We are going to construct 52 plants or industries in the development of fertilizers, plastics, and others, for which we will need $20 billion and that will generate a tax value of $100 billion per year in total billing by the year 2013," Chavez explained.
The president laid out several key objectives for the first phase in the "petrochemical revolution," during which he plans to triple petrochemical production. With this increased production Chavez hopes to put Venezuela at the top of Latin America in the production of fertilizers, as well as convert the country into the number one producer of plastics and plastic products.
The government plans to spread out the petrochemical factories and complexes across the country, creating a national network of socialist enterprises. Chavez explained that the factories would be well-distributed among the different regions of the country and insisted on not building industry in the northern part of the country where there already are industrial zones, but rather in the south of the country where industry is scarce.
Chavez emphasized that this would have been "impossible" under capitalism, given that it would not have been considered "profitable" to build industry deep in the center of the country. President Chavez also mentioned plans to cooperate with other countries in the ALBA block (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas), especially Bolivia, with whom Venezuela is planning a joint petrochemical complex. ALBA members are Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, and Nicaragua.
Venezuela will be relying on industry from several countries in the industrial initiatives, including a large amount of investment from Russia. During the president's TV program, Chavez received a call from Vice-President Jorge Rodriguez, who explained the results of a recent meeting in Russia with various industrialists from that country. A number of Russian firms plan to provide capital investment and expertise in a variety of industrial projects in the country.
"We are talking about 54 projects in agro-industry, energy, technology, basic industry and infrastructure," said Rodriguez, who assured that the projects would amount to an investment of "billions of dollars." He emphasized the deepening of the commercial and economic relations between the two countries. The projects have the intention of transferring the necessary technology to Venezuela to increase the country's industrial capacity.
Minister of Mining and Basic Industry Jose Khan stated that several
Russian business leaders will be traveling to Venezuela in the coming
weeks to consult with officials about the necessary technology for the
development of the different industries. Khan said the intention is to
build industry to transform the country's raw materials into
"We have to break from the policy that Venezuela had of being simply exporters of raw materials," he said. "Now this will mean that the country can enter the international market generating added wealth to the nation."
Published on Sep 24th 2007 at 10.35pm
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