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Chavez Orders Nationalization of Venezuela's Orinoco Oil Operations

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has ordered the nationalization of oil projects run by foreign companies in Venezuela's Orinoco River region.

Mr. Chavez said Monday during a radio address that he would give the companies four months to agree to the terms and conditions of the nationalization - which will result in Venezuela's state oil company holding at least 60 percent interest in the projects.

The companies affected are Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Total SA and Statoil ASA.

Mr. Chavez has undertaken a program of nationalizing privately-held industries since he began his second term in office earlier this year.

Venezuela's legislature in January gave the president the power to rule by decree for a period of 18 months.

Venezuela has already taken control of a foreign-run telecommunications company and an electrical power company.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.