Venezuela, Ecuador sign energy cooperation deals

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 19 -- Venezuela and Ecuador have finalized an agreement whereby Ecuadoran Napo crude oil will be shipped at market prices to Venezuela in return for fuel processed in Venezuelan refineries.

The first 330,000-352,000 bbl of Ecuadoran crude—from Block 15, formerly operated by a unit of Occidental Petroleum Corp, Los Angeles—is expected to be shipped to Venezuela in mid-March, while the first 220,000 bbl shipment of Venezuelan diesel fuel will arrive in Ecuador Feb. 22-24.

Under a memorandum signed by energy ministers Albero Costa of Ecuador and Rafael Ramirez of Venezuela, the two countries also agreed to form joint venture companies to develop projects for drilling, production, refining, process optimization, distribution networks, processing, and the sale of fuel.

Another agreement involves Venezuela's collaboration in undertaking an evaluation of Ecuador's existing refining infrastructure.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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