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8

Venezuela Accused Foreign Operators Of Violating Contracts

Rafael Ramirez, Venezuelan Energy Minister, claimed on Saturday that international oil companies...

Rafael Ramirez, Venezuelan Energy Minister, claimed on Saturday that international oil companies, operating in the country's Orinoco heavy oil fields, violated their contracts.

The charges come as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez carries out a campaign to secure more control over the energy sector and increase revenues to finance reforms in Venezuela.

Ramirez would not name those companies, but it is known that such firms as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Total are among those partnered with state oil firm PDVSA in Orinico projects.

"We've been talking with the companies and we are demanding that they comply with these conditions or these firms will not be able to operate here," Ramirez said. "We've had some frank talks with our partners. Most of the companies have shown a willingness to put their affairs in order."