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One of the largest oil suppliers in world and founding member of OPEC, Venezuela remains a leader in the industry.

"Economic prospects remain highly dependent on oil prices and the export of petroleum. A founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Venezuela reasserted its leadership within the organization during its year as OPEC's president, hosting the organization's Second Leadership Conference in 40 years, as well as having its former Minister of Energy, Alvaro Silva Calderon, appointed as Secretary General. The collapse of oil prices in 1997-98 prompted the Rodriguez administration to expand OPEC-inspired production cuts in an effort to raise world oil prices. In 2002, this sector accounted for roughly a quarter of GDP, 73% of export earnings, and about half of central government's operating revenues. Venezuela is the fourth-leading supplier of imported crude and refined petroleum products to the United States.

In 1958 a new government again included Pérez Alfonso, who devised a plan for the international oil cartel that would become OPEC. In 1973 Venezuela voted to nationalize its oil industry outright, effective January 1, 1976, with Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) taking over and presiding over a number of holding companies; in subsequent years, Venezuela built a vast refining and marketing system in the U.S. and Europe.

Economies with large oil supplies tend to benefit due to high the demand of its use and availability. The export of this basic commodity can fund many programs that tax revenue from citizens can not support."

Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venezuela#Petroleum_and_other_resources