August 29, 2008

Venezuela Not to Expropriate Gas Stations

Venezuela's minister for energy and petroleum and president of state-owned oil company PDVSA, Rafael Ramirez, has said that the government is not planning to expropriate gas stations across the country.

Mr Ramirez has said that the government's bill of the Organic Law to Reorganize the Domestic Market of Liquid Fuels calls for the regulation of wholesale fuel trade, which includes fuel distribution to gas stations, but does not seek expropriation of gas stations themselves.

The minister also clarified that Community Councils will participate in the administration and management of only the 156-plus gas stations owned by PDVSA throughout the country.

Mr Ramirez said: "This won't have any negative effects on gas stations; it merely means that now we are going to guarantee, through trade mark representation, that these facilities function in excellent conditions, offer restrooms to customers and are open at night, so as to guarantee good public service to our people."

With regard to workers of fuel transportation companies, the minister indicated that PDVSA will absorb all transportation workers, including drivers and workshop mechanics. These personnel will reportedly be made part of an affiliated domestic transportation company PDVSA is creating, and will be covered by the oil union bargaining agreement.