Hydrocarbons Organic Law

Last updated: 4 February 2022

This legislation regulates activities related to the exploration, exploitation, refining, industrialisation, transportation, commercialisation and conservation of hydrocarbons, as well as refined products and construction works associated with  these activities. It determines that all national oil resources belong to the Republic of Venezuela. It provides the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum with all powers necessary for the administration of the petroleum industry, including enforcement authority and the competence to conduct inspections on oil and gas facilities and work sites. It requires that proponents carry out activities continuously and efficiently, using the best available scientific and technical practices on safety and hygiene, environmental protection, and the rational use of hydrocarbons. 

Following updates passed in 2009, all primary hydrocarbons activities (e.g. exploration and production) must be undertaken by the state through a state-owned company or companies with at least 50% government ownership.  Only secondary activities (e.g. distillation, purification, and processing) may  be undertaken by private companies.  In this case, these companies must obtain a license from the Energy and Petroleum Ministry.

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