Venezuelan Alirio Parra celebrated as OPEC pioneer, PDVSA heavyweight

Slight in physical stature, but colossal in the world of oil diplomacy, Alirio Parra was laid to rest Friday in London, hailed by influential figures in the industry for his role in founding OPEC in 1960, building up Venezuela’s PDVSA and smoothing the often turbulent currents of geopolitics. “Very big loss to the industry and ourselves,” OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo, who attended the funeral, told S&P Global Platts. “We lost a reliable and dependable friend.” Parra, who was 90 when he died March 9, was an assistant to Venezuela’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons Juan Pablo Perez Alfonzo when he attended and played a critical role in the September 1960 meeting in Baghdad that led to the creation of OPEC. He would later serve as a founding board member of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, where he was credited with modernizing its downstream sector and initiating the development of Orinoco Belt extra heavy crude in the mid-1990s that now underpins much of the country’s production growth prospects. During his two-year tenure as Venezuela’s oil minister between 1992 and 1994, Parra also opened a number of mature oil fields to foreign investment. It was a move that helped to revive… continue reading

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