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For decades, Venezuela has been a country rich in oil resources - the nation's principal treasure trough. And this major industry has always been overshadowing the country's petrochemical industry. So far, short of capital and know-how, the industry had been limited to the domestic market, while vast quantities of associated gas - a key component of the industry - have been pumped back into the oil wells.
Now Pequiven, a subsidiary of the state oil company of Venezuela, is seeking to push the country into the global market by adopting an aggressive expansion plan - aiming to increase its chemical exports from us $770 million to close to us $3 billion.
Proven gas reserves of Venezuela are around 267,000 billion cubic ft.
And the petrochemical industry is projected to use only one-tenth of the total gas production in ad 2005, estimated at eight billion cu ft per day. Other comparative advantages for the industry to take the big leap includes factors like inexpensive hydroelectricity and its relative proximity to key market areas. These advantages, said an expert, will allow Pequiven's new project to be "one of the world's most cost effective" petrochemical producers.