Venezuela, China to Build Refineries, Boost Sales
Venezuela, the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter, and China plan to build refineries and boost oil shipments, said President Hugo Chavez, who is seeking to lessen dependence on the U.S.
The countries will sign agreements that will include building a refinery in block Junin 8 in the Orinoco Belt, South America’s biggest oil area, Chavez said today in Beijing in a phone interview with Venezuelan state television. The accords will deepen cooperation between the two countries, he said.
Chavez, who is in China this week on a tour that includes Russia and Cuba, has sought closer ties with U.S. rivals. Earlier this month, Chavez expelled the U.S. ambassador to Caracas and signed an agreement with Russia’s OAO Gazprom on offshore projects. China, the world’s second-biggest oil user, needs fuel as its economy grows at a double-digit pace.
Forbes reports on the triangular relationship between China-Venezuela-United States:
Chavez wants to market more of his country’s oil to China so that it is less dependent on U.S. demand. The United States consumes about 60% of oil exports from Venezuela, the fifth-biggest exporter in the world. “Venezuela has enough oil to last for 200 years,” said Chavez, who heads to Russia on Thursday for the next stop on his five-country tour. “And the Chinese are already working to tap that.”
While Chavez visited Beijing, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was in New York for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly session this week, remarking on Tuesday that China and the United States are “partners,” not rivals. A Foreign Ministry official also sought to reassure the world, emphasizing at a press conference that relations between China and Venezuela are “not based on ideology, are not targeted against any third party and will not affect other countries’ relations with Venezuela.”
But, in a development likely to irritate Washington, Chavez said he also hopes to cement an agreement to buy combat aircraft, specifically 24 K-8 planes for his country’s air force, from China.