UPDATE 1-Venezuela's PDVSA says oil installations normal, domestic supplies assured
CARACAS, March 5 - Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA said all its installations were operating normally and domestic fuel supplies were guaranteed, following the death on Tuesday of President Hugo Chavez after a two-year battle with cancer.
"The call for calm is aimed at clearing the climate of rumors and political destabilization that enemies of the fatherland are trying to sow in the public opinion," PDVSA said in a statement.
Chavez's death is unlikely to have much immediate impact on the oil industry in the world's 11th largest crude exporter, where oil sales will continue to contribute more than 95 percent of the OPEC nation's hard currency earnings.
An extension of "Chavismo" under his preferred successor, Vice President Nicolas Maduro, should keep important existing projects on track in the Orinoco Belt region, while a change in parties could usher in more foreign capital.
Venezuela is South America's biggest oil exporter, a top-four supplier to the United States and an increasingly important fuel source for China. In 2011, OPEC said that Venezuela had overtaken Saudi Arabia as the country with the world's biggest crude reserves.