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Chavez OKs Private Firms in Oil Projects

President Hugo Chavez said Saturday his government will allow private companies to own minority stakes in lucrative Orinoco River basin oil projects that Venezuela plans to nationalize.

Chavez announced plans earlier this week for the state to take control of the country's largest telecommunications company, its electricity and natural gas sectors and four heavy crude upgrading projects now controlled by some of the world's top oil companies.

It had not been clear whether Chavez intended for the state to have total control of the projects or a majority stake as his government had previously said.

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