Energy deals inked with Venezuela
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-08-25 06:16

China and Venezuela, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, yesterday signed a series of agreements including two on expanded energy co-operation.

President Hu Jintao greets visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing yesterday.  Chavez, who arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, is on a six-day visit to China. [China Daily]

The agreements, ranging from trade and energy to infrastructure and tourism, were inked after President Hu Jintao met visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

In one of the energy deals, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and PDVSA, the State-owned Venezuelan energy company, agreed to jointly develop Venezuela's Orinoco oil belt, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Another agreement calls for the two companies to jointly explore an oil field in Venezuela's Sumano region.

The two presidents witnessed the signing of the deals after a one-hour closed-door meeting.

Describing Chavez as an "old and good friend of China," Hu said the leader's fourth visit to the country since he took office in 1999 showed the great importance the Venezuelan president attaches to the development of the bilateral relationship.

"I believe that, through your visit, co-operation in all aspects can be promoted," Hu told Chavez.

Hu said in the past few years, Sino-Venezuelan relations have witnessed significant growth with frequent high-level visits and increasing mutual trust.

He expressed his appreciation for the Venezuelan Government's adherence to the one-China policy and firm support for China on major issues such as Taiwan.

Chavez said bilateral relations have entered a new phase as the two countries have strengthened mutual political trust, economic and trade co-operation, cultural exchanges and people-to-people friendships.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the establishment of Sino-Venezuelan strategic partnership.

Chavez said he was pleased with co-operation in the oil sector and pledged to increase exports to China by 50,000 barrels per day in the near future.

He has repeatedly said that he would like to see China become one of Venezuela's biggest energy markets and stated on state television earlier that his country hopes to double oil exports to China to 300,000 barrels a day by 2007.

"The oil issue is of utmost importance because we are diversifying the petroleum business," he said.

During a meeting earlier yesterday, the two sides also signed several deals on energy co-operation, which experts said would benefit both countries.

"An oil-importing nation like China would like to see a stable and diversified supply," noted Han Wenke, an official with the energy research institute of the National Development Research Centre.

He noted that China mainly relies on the Middle East for oil imports and it would be prudent for the country to have increased energy collaboration with South American countries.

(China Daily 08/25/2006 page1)