Other CitiesMaracay, Barinas, Coro, San Carlos, Maturin, Cumana
AreaTotal 916,445 km2
Country Profile: Venezuela
Venezuela is a country on the northern coast of South America. The country comprises a continental mainland and numerous islands located off the Venezuelan coastline in the Caribbean Sea. Venezuela possesses borders with Guyana to the east, Brazil to the south, and Colombia to the west. Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Lucia, Barbados, Curaçao, Bonaire, Aruba, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Leeward Antilles lie just north, off the Venezuelan coast.
The petroleum sector dominates Venezuela's mixed economy, accounting for roughly a third of GDP, around 80% of exports, and more than half of government revenues.They also have gold, diamonds, and iron ore but they do not have as great of an impact on the economy. Venezuela contains some of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world. It consistently ranks among the top ten crude oil producers in the world. Venezuela has the least expensive petrol in the world because of its high government subsidies.
Energy and Resource Business
Oil history was made in 1943 when Standard Oil of New Jersey accepted a new agreement in Venezuela, terms even more favorable to Venezuela were negotiated in 1945, after a coup brought to power a left-leaning government that included Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso. In 1958 a new government again included Pérez Alfonso, who devised a plan for the international oil cartel that would become OPEC. In 1973 Venezuela voted to nationalize its oil industry outright, effective January 1, 1976, with Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) taking over and presiding over a number of holding companies; in subsequent years, Venezuela built a vast refining and marketing system in the U.S. and Europe, that would become the greatest in the world.
Renewable Energy Investment
The Government of Venezuela has opened up much of the hydrocarbon sector to foreign investment, promoting multi-billion dollar investment in heavy oil production, reactivation of old fields, and investment in several petrochemical joint ventures. Almost 60 foreign companies representing 14 different countries participate in one or more aspects of Venezuela's oil sector. The Venezuelan national oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) and foreign oil companies have signed 33 operating contracts for marginal fields in three bidding rounds. New legislation dealing with natural gas and petrochemicals is further opening the sector.
Agriculture and Trade
The manufacturing sector continues to increase dramatically at a rate of 26.93% annually. Venezuela manufactures and exports steel, aluminum, transport equipment, textiles, apparel, beverages, and foodstuffs. It produces cement, tires, paper, fertilizer, and assembles cars both for domestic and export markets.
Agriculture accounts for approximately one-fourth of Venezuela's land area. Venezuela exports rice, corn, fish, tropical fruit, coffee, beef, and pork. In 2002, U.S. firms exported $347 million worth of agricultural products, including wheat, corn, soybeans, soybean meal, cotton, animal fats, vegetable oils, and other items to make Venezuela one of the top two U.S. markets in South America. The United States supplies more than one-third of Venezuela's food imports.
Thanks to petroleum exports, Venezuela usually posts a trade surplus. In recent years, nonpetroleum exports have been growing rapidly but still constitute only about one-fourth of total exports. The United States is Venezuela's leading trade partner although Brazil is expected to surpass the U.S. by 2011. During 2002, the United States exported $4.4 billion in goods to Venezuela, making it the 25th-largest market for the U.S. Including petroleum products, Venezuela exported $15.1 billion in goods to the U.S., making it its 14th-largest source of goods.
Venezuela looks likely to continue to grow based on its agricultural strengths and its extreme abundnace of natural resources, particularly oil. It will continue to be a world leader in fuel production and exportation and they have also recently begun research into renewable energy resources, such as wind, solar power and hydroelectric as well. Because of their economic strengths, natural resources and direct foreign investment, Venezuela will continue to grow and prosper in the future.
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