CARACAS, June 13 (Reuters) - Foreign energy companies working in Venezuela with state oil firm PDVSA will not be allowed to repatriate dividend payments if their projects fail to hit production targets, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said on Thursday.
PDVSA is the majority partner in about 40 joint ventures with a wide range of foreign companies at projects around the OPEC nation, which boasts the world’s biggest crude reserves.
“Any company that misses its production target will not be able to repatriate dividends. The dividends must be reinvested to meet the production goal,” Ramirez said after a meeting with executives from foreign oil companies working with PDVSA.
For years, the Venezuelan government has been putting pressure on its joint venture partners to help it increase output in a sector that is central to the country’s economy.
Venezuela’s crude production fell 3 percent to 3.03 million bpd in 2012, according to PDVSA.
Seeking to drive forward projects in the extra heavy Orinoco crude belt, Venezuela has agreed big loan deals this year with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Chevron and Schlumberger of the United States, and Russia’s Rosneft .