September 25, 2008

Chinese Gulping Venezuelan Oil

Visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says daily oil exports to China will reach 500,000 barrels next year and jump to 1 million barrels in four years.

Seeking to gain a bigger market in China for his country's oil and reduce dependence on the United States as a customer, Chavez, on his fifth visit to the Asian nation, outlined the plans in a telecast on Venezuelan state television, the China Daily reported.

Since April, the Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA has been exporting 250,000 barrels of oil a day to China, accounting for about 4 percent of China's oil imports, the report said.

Chavez, who ended his China trip Thursday, also signed 12 agreements covering trade, oil, finance, education and telecommunications, thereby promoting the two countries' strategic partnership to a new high, Xinhua reported.

One deal calls for doubling a joint investment fund to $12 billion.

Chinese President Hu Jintao said his country wants to deepen its oil dealings with Venezuela, encourage businesses to invest in Venezuela and establish a trade zone, the state-run news agency said.

Chavez complimented China on its staging of the Summer Olympics last month, China Daily reported.

"Though we did not get many Olympic medals, we won the medal of friendship with China," he said.