September 27, 2008

Russia, Venezuela Set Up Energy Consortium

Russia and Venezuela say they intend to set up an oil and gas consortium between Gazprom and Petroleos de Venezuela.

The proposed consortium would operate not only in Venezuela, but also in other Latin American nations such as Cuba and Bolivia, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko told ITAR-TASS Saturday.

The announcement came as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visited Orenburg, Russia, this week to observe military exercises with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

"This type of activity will be conducted not only in Venezuela," Schmatko told reporters. Besides Cuba and Bolivia, he said, "in the longer term the project's geographic bounds may get still wider."

At the meeting, Gazprom chief Alexei Miller and Venezuelan Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez signed a "memorandum on mutual understanding" on the terms and possible directions of cooperation between the two companies.