CNPC to help develop Junin 10 project in Venezuela -Ramirez

Reuters

By Daniel Wallis

CARACAS, Sept 18 (Reuters) - China's CNPC willwork with Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA todevelop the Junin 10 block in the South American country'sOrinoco extra heavy crude belt, the Venezuelan petroleumminister said on Wednesday.

The Orinoco region holds one of largest oil reserves in theworld, and PDVSA is working on projects there with foreignpartners including Italy's ENI, Spain's Repsol and Russia's Rosneft.

"We agreed with CNPC to develop a new project in the Junin10 block ... to produce 220,000 barrels per day with investmentof $14 billion," Rafael Ramirez said on Twitter.

The minister, who is in China ahead of an official visit toBeijing by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro this weekend, didnot 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 agreementwith France's Total and Norway's Statoil.

Last week, Malaysia's Petronas said it was quitting adifferent large project in the Orinoco after what sources closeto the venture said were disagreements with PDVSA and theVenezuelan authorities.

Separately, Ramirez said terms were agreed to for a new $5billion loan from the China Development Bank, but did notelaborate. Venezuela has borrowed some $40 billion from China inrecent years, making the repayments in oil and fuel shipments.

Ramirez also said the Export-Import Bank of China agreed toprovide a $390 million loan to build a new dock at Venezuela'sstate-owned petrochemicals and fertilizer company Pequiven.

CNPC already has minority stakes in two other Orinoco beltprojects with PDVSA, Petrosinovensa and Petrourica.

Earlier this year, the partners reached a deal for $4billion in funding to more than double output at Petrosinovensato 330,000 bpd, from 140,000 bpd. Early production is expectedto begin at Petrourica in the coming months.

Ramirez said another Chinese company, Sinopec Corp , would help PDVSA develop the 200,000 bpd Junin 1project with PDVSA, but he did not provide more details.

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