China, Venezuela Sign Oil Agreements

Ambitious oil development deals were among a series of agreements signed between China and Venezuela Aug. 24 as the two nations' leaders met in Beijing. The deals were inked on the second full day of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez' visit to China, as he met with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao.

While no concrete commitment was announced in the deals, Chavez said Venezuela now expected to more than triple its oil exports to China by 2009 and increase deliveries more than six-fold within 10 years.

"In 2009, we'll reach half a million barrels a day (of oil exports to China), and in the decade after that we'll see a million barrels," Chavez said. Venezuela currently exports 150,000 barrels a day to China.

One of the agreements was for Chinese oil major CNPC to team up with Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA to set up a joint venture to develop a bloc in the Junin area of the Venezuelan Orinoco oil field. According to the other agreement, the two companies will jointly explore an oil field in Venezuela's Sumano region.

Venezuela, the fifth biggest exporter of oil in the world, currently delivers 1.5 million barrels a day to the U.S. but is seeking other alternatives to reduce its economic dependence on the U.S..

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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