* Analysts say project is aimed at forging political ties
* TNK-BP also decided to leave
MOSCOW Nov 7 The board of Russia's
fourth-largest crude producer Surgutneftegaz voted in
favour of leaving the Russian consortium developing Venezuela's
Orinoco belt, its last foreign project, the company said on
The consortium 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
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 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
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Alison Birrane)