Dictators spend to much time lecturing syncophants.

Chavez: Oil production, income to double by 2019

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks during the plenary session of the ALBA (Boliviarian Alternative for the Americas) summit in Caracas February 4, 2012. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS)

Hugo Chavez: Insists output, income wiill achieve robust growth at PDVSA

Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Kathrine Schmidt 

13 July 2012 22:08 GMT

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday he expects his government to double its oil production and income by 2019 as he reiterated calls for the price of the commodity to stabilize between $100 and $120 a barrel.

Chavez, who has begun campaigning for an October re-election bid despite a lengthy battle with an undisclosed type of cancer, is relying on high oil prices to finance large spending increases on social programs, Dow Jones reported.

Crude oil makes up 95% of the South American country’s exports.

In an interview broadcast on state television, Chavez said that government-run oil monopoly PDVSA is on track to boost its output to 4 million barrels a day by 2014 and will begin to produce 6 million barrels a day in 2019.

Venezuela’s oil ministry stopped publishing monthly production and export figures a year ago but has maintained that it is pumping around 3 million barrels day.

Others, however, like the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Energy Agency, have challenged Venezuela’s statistics saying that production is closer to 2.5 million barrels a day.

Chavez added that he expected his country’s oil income to double by 2019 and said “prices must consolidate at $100 to $120 a barrel.”

PDVSA, which publishes financial statistics only once a year, said in April it recorded $124.8 billion in revenue in 2011, up 31% from previous year. Profits, meanwhile, rose 43% to $4.5 billion as the state company benefited from last year’s record-high oil prices.

That allowed the company to boost social contributions to the central government by 41% to $27 billion.

The stakes are high in Venezuela’s 7 October election as Chavez is seen facing his toughest race yet after nearly 14 years at the helm. Many electoral polls have given the leftist leader a firm, double-digit lead over his rival, Henrique Capriles, but two recent polls have shown the two neck and neck.

Despite plans to substantially raise domestic oil production, output has mostly stagnated during Chavez’s presidency, which critics of the government have attributed to mismanagement and insufficient investment into the industry.

The leader’s often combative stance toward private, foreign oil partners and high taxes also have discouraged further investment into the sector, some analysts say.

Capriles, for his part, has said that PDVSA should stay in government hands but has pledged to strengthen ties with private oil companies doing business in Venezuela in a bid to boost production.