By Daniel Wallis
CARACAS, Sept 18 China's CNPC will
work with Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA to
develop the Junin 10 block in the South American country's
Orinoco extra heavy crude belt, the Venezuelan petroleum
minister said on Wednesday.
The Orinoco region holds one of largest oil reserves in the
world, and PDVSA is working on projects there with foreign
partners including Italy's ENI, Spain's Repsol
and Russia's Rosneft.
"We agreed with CNPC to develop a new project in the Junin
10 block ... to produce 220,000 barrels per day with investment
of $14 billion," Rafael Ramirez said on Twitter.
The minister, who is in China ahead of an official visit to
Beijing by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro this weekend, did
not immediately give additional details of the CNPC deal.
PDVSA began early crude production at Junin 10 last year,
operating the project solo after failing to reach an agreement
with France's Total and Norway's Statoil.
Last week, Malaysia's Petronas said it was quitting a
different large project in the Orinoco after what sources close
to the venture said were disagreements with PDVSA and the
Separately, Ramirez said terms were agreed to for a new $5
billion loan from the China Development Bank, but did not
elaborate. Venezuela has borrowed some $40 billion from China in
recent years, making the repayments in oil and fuel shipments.
Ramirez also said the Export-Import Bank of China agreed to
provide a $390 million loan to build a new dock at Venezuela's
state-owned petrochemicals and fertilizer company Pequiven.
CNPC already has minority stakes in two other Orinoco belt
projects with PDVSA, Petrosinovensa and Petrourica.
Earlier this year, the partners reached a deal for $4
billion in funding to more than double output at Petrosinovensa
to 330,000 bpd, from 140,000 bpd. Early production is expected
to begin at Petrourica in the coming months.
Ramirez said another Chinese company, Sinopec Corp
, would help PDVSA develop the 200,000 bpd Junin 1
project with PDVSA, but he did not provide more details.