March 20, 2009

Venezuela seeking oil investment

Venezuela's minister of energy and petroleum has signed an accord in Japan pledging cooperation in Venezuelan oil and gas development.

The memorandum of understanding does not stipulate specific projects, but pledges Japanese investment in energy development, including projects in Venezuela's Orinoco Oil Belt region, El Universal reported Friday.

Having estimated its budget on $60 per barrel, state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela has also been seeking loans to make up for a budget shortfall, El Universal said.

Oil prices reached $51 per barrel this week, but have averaged less than that for the year.

The company is evaluating its financing with banks in China and Japan, estimated between $3 billion and $4 billion. In addition, it has been negotiating increasing its line of credit with BNP Paribas in France to $1.1 billion.