UPDATE 1-Russia's Surgut votes to leave Venezuela oil consortium
* Analysts say project is aimed at forging political ties
* TNK-BP also decided to leave, in talks with Rosneft
* Venezuela says no request from Surgut to exit consortium (Adds Venezuela oil minister comment)
MOSCOW, Nov 7 (Reuters) - The board of Russia's fourth-largest crude producer Surgutneftegaz voted in favour of leaving a Russian consortium that is developing an oil block in Venezuela's Orinoco belt, its last foreign project, the company said on Wednesday.
The consortium of five Russian oil companies owns a 40-percent stake in the project, which started oil production in September, while Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA has 60 percent.
Anglo-Russian oil company TNK-BP has also decided to leave the project to focus on its own assets in the country and started talks with Russian top crude producer Rosneft , also a partner in the project, on selling its share in the consortium.
Sources said Surgut is also likely to sell its share to Rosneft.
Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said the country had not received a request from Surgut to exit the consortium.
"Any change in the makeup of the partnership must be authorized by the ministry," Ramirez told reporters following a congressional hearing.
LUKOIL and Gazprom Neft are other Russian companies involved in the consortium, which analysts said was mainly aimed at forging ties with Venezuelan socialist President Hugo Chavez rather than yielding substantial profits.
The Junin 6 oil block, which is targeting 50,000 barrels per day this year, is one of the most advanced new projects in Venezuela's Orinoco extra heavy crude belt, where Chavez's government is focusing its attention for future production increases. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Marianna Parraga, Editing by Alison Birrane and Marguerita Choy)
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