China Boosts Role in Venezuela's Oil and Gas Sector

Despite multi-million dollar Chinese investments, experts expect US to remain country's most natural energy market because of its proximity and its refineries gread to process Venezuelan crude

Published: 30-Jan-2005

lass=wallacepara>China has signed energy accords with Venezuela that aim to make the Asian economic giant a major player in the oil and gas industry of the world's number five crude exporter.

The 19 cooperation agreements signed in Caracas during a visit by Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong included plans for multi-million dollar Chinese investments in Venezuelan oil and gas fields.

They also foresaw Chinese financing and technical support for telecommunications, mining and farming.

Venezuela ships more than half its daily oil output to the United States in a decades-old energy relationship.

But left-wing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a fierce critic of Washington, has made clear he wants to diversify his country's overseas energy ties to reduce its economic dependence on the American market.

"China is a world power ... She doesn't come here with imperialist airs, she comes here like a sister. God bless China," he told Mr Zeng at the signing ceremony.

Despite Chavez's anti-US rhetoric, many experts say the United States remains Venezuela's most natural energy market because of its proximity and its refineries geared to process Venezuelan crude.

Accumulated American investment in Venezuela's energy sector is in the billions of dollars.

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