PDVSA plans to increase investment spending by $1.6 billion during 2002 to $5.44 billion, the head of the National Assembly's finance commission said. Rodrigo Cabezas, a pro-government deputy, said the 2002 investment plan was presented Wednesday by PDVSA's board of directors to a small group of legislators. "We were informed that PDVSA plans investment of around $5.44 billion for this year. It is going to be applied to 17 investment projects and programs," Cabezas said in a statement.
The programs include exploration of the offshore natural gas areas in the Deltana Platform and in the Paria Peninsula, and operating agreements signed by PDVSA with private investors. The investment program will not impact the company's debt level but it will use some cash it has stashed in the Macroeconomic Stabilization Fund (FIEM), the nation's rainy day oil savings account. "We have authorized $2.44 billion for PDVSA to use, two-thirds of what they have in the FIEM, and they are going to use $1.8 billion," Cabezas said. PDVSA also plans to reimburse $420 million to the FIEM by the end of the year.