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A worker collects a crude sample at an oil well operated by state oil company PDVSA in Morichal, Venezuela.
A worker collects a crude sample at an oil well operated by state oil company PDVSA in Morichal, Venezuela.
(CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS/REUTERS)

Financial Times

Venezuela needs capitalist reality check to unlock its riches

Lex is a premium daily commentary service from the Financial Times. It helps readers make better investment decisions by highlighting key emerging risks and opportunities.

PDVSA spent the past 15 years as the gift that kept on giving. The death of Hugo Chavez offers an opportunity for Venezuela’s energy champion to revert to being – well, just a national oil company. If revolutionary fervour could turn oil into money, Venezuelans would be the world’s richest people. But what PDVSA really needs is a capitalist reality check. If it wishes to extract maximum value from its matchless oil and gas reserves, Venezuela needs to attract foreign investment.