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18/08/2012 | China soon to become Venezuela’s main trade partner; oil sales soared 60% this year

Mercopress Staff

Venezuelan oil sales to China have jumped by 60% since the start of the year, the country's oil minister said in an interview published on Sunday in the state-run Correo del Orinoco.

 

The stepped up oil shipments to China are part of an effort by President Hugo Chavez to reduce reliance on the United States as the market for the bulk of its oil.

“We are selling 640.000 barrels of petrol per day to China” said Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez.

In February, Venezuela reported it was selling 400.000 barrels to the People's Republic. Ramirez said 264.000 barrels of oil would be used to repay the Latin American nation's debt to the Asian giant.

Last week, Chavez announced that China Development bank will inject some 4 billion dollars into development projects, to include housing, energy and industrial growth.

Caracas announced earlier this year that by 2015, it aims to sell one million barrels of crude to China daily, which would equal the amount it sells to the United States.

Ramirez said the increase in sales will be facilitated by increased production in the natural resource-rich Orinoco Oil Belt in the east of the country.

Venezuela produces about three million barrels of oil per day according to state figures, but the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says the oil supply is 2.3 million,

Before President Chavez took office in 1999, Venezuela did not ship oil to China, but petroleum exports have steadily increased over the last decade. Chavez said last year that China could soon surpass the United States as Venezuela's No. 1 trade partner due to a strategic alliance between the two countries.

Mercopress (Uruguay)

 


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