Authors: Juan Carlos Boué,

Venezuela, The Political Economy of Oil

In this book Juan Carlos Boué gives a full and perceptive analysis of the Venezuelan oil industry within the context of the political economy of the country. In particular, he considers the enormous potential reserves of the Orinoco Oil Basin, which may even dwarf the reserves of the Gulf. He stresses the environmental challenges facing the heavy Venezuelan crudes. The ‘revolutionary new fuel’, Orimulsion, is shown to be a triumph of innovation and marketing, but its future remains in considerable doubt. So too are bold attempts to activate Venezuela’s vast gas reserves. A section of the economy also brings out the tensions between economic and political objectives and tells of a significant missed opportunity in the management of oil wealth.

In light of two attempted military coups in 1992, this study weighs up the prospects for the Venezuelan oil industry in the near and long-term future.


  1. Introduction
  2. Historical Background and Institutional Set-Up
  3. The Venezuelan Upstream
  4. The Orinoco Oil Belt
  5. Natural Gas in Venezuela
  6. The Venezuelan Downstream Sector
  7. The Markets for Venezuelan Petroleum
  8. PdVSA’s Refining Interests Overseas
  9. Oil and the Venezuelan Economy
  10. The Future of Venezuelan Oil