Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez plans to visit Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, China and Iran this month to sign bilateral energy, financial and security agreements that Caracas believes are central to Venezuela's economic development.
Chavez did not give precise dates for his first official trip outside Venezuela since the 26 September national assembly elections. But he indicated on 3 October that the agreements will include the creation of a bilateral development bank with Russia and a new oil-backed loan deal with China.
Chavez will be briefed on TNK-BP's negotiations to buy BP assets in Venezuela during his visit to Moscow. BP has a 50pc stake in TNK-BP, while Alfa Group, Renova and Access own 25pc, 12.5pc and 12.5pc. The value of the proposed transaction between BP and TNK-BP is reportedly worth about $1bn.
BP's Venezuelan assets include a stake of over 16pc in the PetroMonagas extra-heavy crude upgrader in the Orinoco oil belt. PetroMonagas has a production capacity of 110,000 b/d and certified reserves of over 1.2bn bl of 8.5°API extra-heavy crude. BP's assets in Venezuela also include minority stakes in two mature oil field production joint ventures called Petroperija and Boqueron, which produce about 20,000 b/d combined.
Energy minister Rafael Ramirez announced on 26 September that Chavez had approved BP's talks with TNK-BP. But Ramirez added on 3 October that state-owned PdV would like to exercise its first option to “acquire 100pc of BP's assets in the oil belt” — meaning PetroMonagas. “That would be a tremendous deal for PdV,” he said.
Russian sources in Caracas familiar with the negotiations between TNK-BP and BP said on the same day that TNK-BP will probably not purchase BP's minority stakes in Petroperija and Boqueron if PdV buys BP's stake in PetroMonagas.
The same Russian sources claim that TNK-BP's purchase of BP's stake in PetroMonagas would be a significant step in TNK-BP's longer-term plans to develop an Orinoco extra-heavy crude production/upgrader joint venture with PdV. They argue that it would be more cost-effective for TNK-BP to purchase and expand existing Orinoco production assets such as PetroMonagas than to develop a new production-upgrader joint venture in an area of the oil belt that still lacks even basic infrastructure including roads, pipelines and power supplies....MORE
HT: the Houston Chronicle's FuelFix
*Hugo is an autodidactic polymath:
Previously, Hugo on baseball (apparently a Sox fan):
"Go to hell, shit Yankees, we are a dignified people, go to hell a hundred times,"
Chavez shouted at a political rally to thousands of roaring supporters dressed in red...On the U.S. Executive branch:
Chavez: "Obama vaya a lavarse ese palto"
Obama, go wipe your ass.