Chavez says Venezuela to hike oil output this year

CARACAS, May 23 (BestGrowthStock) – OPEC member Venezuela will
increase oil production “gradually” in 2010, then even more
next year, President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday.

Chavez’s comments contradicted previous statements by oil
officials that Venezuela’s production — which they put at 3
million barrels per day — will not increase this year.

“We are going to increase oil output progressively from the
end of this year, and in 2011 we will have an important rise,”
Chavez said on his weekly TV programme “Hello President”.

Chavez gave no further explanation for his forecasts.

Venezuela has various projects in the pipeline to increase
output from its Orinoco heavy-crude belt, but they are not
expected to start coming on stream until 2012.

International energy organizations put the South American
nation’s output closer to 2.3-2.4 million bpd currently.

Venezuela agreed to a 380,000 bpd cut last year in line
with OPEC reductions, but there was no indication from Chavez
that he was referring to any changes in that.

Stock Market Money

(Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez; Writing by Andrew

Chavez says Venezuela to hike oil output this year