UPDATE 2-Venezuela's PDVSA borrows $1.5 bln from banks
* PDVSA borrows from Chinese, Portuguese banks
* Loan repayable in three years, nine-month grace period (Adds quote, background on PDVSA)
By Eyanir Chinea
CARACAS, June 29 (Reuters) - Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA said on Tuesday it borrowed $1.5 billion from a group of banks, including the China Development Bank Corp [CHDB.UL] and Portugal's Banco Espirito Santo (BES.LS).
PDVSA, short of cash because of lower global oil prices and a string of problems affecting output from its refinery network, said the loan was repayable in three years with a nine-month grace period.
"PDVSA, China Development Bank Corp, Banco Espirito Santo and other major banks have signed a syndicated credit agreement providing a $1.5 billion facility for the Venezuelan state oil company," PDVSA said in a statement.
Beijing has good ties with Caracas, and Chinese companies are involved in projects to develop the Latin American OPEC member's vast Orinoco heavy crude belt. The China Development Bank was seen lending in line with China's policy goals.
PDVSA is ranked as the world's fourth-largest oil company in an annual survey by industry publication Petroleum Intelligence Weekly. It is South America's top oil exporter and an important supplier of crude to the United States.
The company said in January that its total debt had risen 42 percent to $21.4 billion in 2009 compared with the previous year after it borrowed heavily to pay off service company debts and intervene in currency markets. [ID:nN23131756]
PDVSA, the financial engine of President Hugo Chavez's socialist project, built up billions of dollars in debts to service companies after the 2008 collapse of oil prices. (Writing by Dan Wallis; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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