Venezuela Seeks to Fuel Oil Links


Venezuela is looking to double its daily oil exports to China to 1 million barrels in 2015 from the current level of 500,000 barrels, Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said on Friday.

Speaking at a conference in Beijing on bilateral cooperation, Ramirez said his country, which currently has a verified oil reserve of more than 200 billion barrels, is expected to be one of China’s major petroleum suppliers.

According to statistics from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, in April 2012, Venezuela was the fourth-largest source of China’s oil imports after Saudi Arabia, Angola and Russia.

The country exports a daily average of 460,000 barrels of crude oil to China, accounting for 8.3 percent of the nation’s total oil imports.

China’s oil imports from Venezuela have been growing from 49,000 barrels a day in 2005 to the current level of around half a million, he said.

One barrel of crude oil is equivalent to about 160 liters. One ton of oil is about seven barrels.

According to Ramirez, a joint venture set up by PetroChina and PDVSA, Venezuela’s national oil company, is currently producing 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day, and he expected the amount to increase to 1.1 million barrels a day, mainly due to the development of Venezuela’s Orinoco heavy-oil belt.

Ramirez was quoted by Spanish media as saying in May that PetroChina was planning to invest more than $4 billion in exploring the Orinoco reserve.

The target will be achieved as part of Venezuela’s ambition to double its daily oil production from the currently three million barrels per day to six million barrels in 2019.

Meanwhile, China is facing rising dependence on oil imports, which increased to 57 percent of its total consumption in 2011 from 32 percent at the beginning of the decade, according to official data, as the country became the world’s largest energy consumer.

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