Venezuela, Argentina ink energy agreements

Argentina President Nestor Kirchner and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez have signed accords to boost energy and agriculture cooperation between the two South American countries.

Mar 13th, 2007

Peter Howard Wertheim
OGJ Correspondent

RIO DE JANEIRO, Mar. 13 -- Argentina President Nestor Kirchner and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez have signed accords to boost energy and agriculture cooperation between the two South American countries.

The highlight was a treaty to work toward the creation of a South American organization to coordinate natural gas exports. The agreements also included a bid to jointly expand production of gas-fueled vehicles.

According to Chavez's plans, the South American organization for the export of gas would be based upon the principles of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Few details were given and no timetable was released for launching the group.

The two leaders also agreed to incorporate Bolivia into a working group aimed at creating a multilateral South American energy development bank to be known as the Banco del Sur. The group was created during Kirchner's visit to Caracas last month.

The other agreements were for joint-venture companies, both state and private, in natural gas and agriculture.

Some agreements linked state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA in arrangements with private Argentine manufacturers and companies in areas outside its usual field of energy interests, such as working with a local group to manufacture compressed-gas-fueled buses and forming agribusiness unit PDV Agricola to boost agricultural development.

Venezuela recently acquired 155 gas stations in Argentina after defining the purchase of 46% of the stock shares in Argentina's Petrolera del Cono Sur.

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