CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela plans a major buildup of its petrochemical industry in the next five years, aiming to raise revenues to $100 billion a year, President Hugo Chavez said Sunday.
Chavez said by 2013 Venezuela should have created about 700,000 jobs in the petrochemical industry — about 10 times the number of workers in its oil industry — while investing about $20 billion.
''The great goal of the petrochemical revolution is to convert Venezuela into a world petrochemical power,'' Chavez said.
It would be a major shift for Venezuela, which is a key supplier of crude oil to the United States and says it currently has petrochemical revenues of about $1.7 billion a year.
Speaking on his weekly radio and TV show ''Hello, President,'' Chavez also said Venezuela would seek investment and technology from countries including Brazil, Russia and Iran.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit Venezuela in the next few days, Chavez said, adding that he told him ''this is your home'' and laments that Iran is ''threatened by the (U.S.) empire.''
Inaugurating the start of construction on a new petrochemical plant, Chavez joked: ''They're probably going to say he's coming to inspect Chavez's atomic bomb — this is an atomic bomb for development, for life.''