CARACAS – President Hugo Chavez and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping signed here Wednesday an agreement to increase to $12 billion a bilateral strategic fund to finance different projects in Venezuela.
China will contribute $8 billion and Venezuela the remaining $4 billion, which in large part will be destined to boost Venezuelan oil exports to the Asian giant from the current 96,000 barrels per day to 1 million bpd in 2015, Chavez said.
“We will meet that goal, without doubt,” he added during the nationally broadcast accord signing ceremony.
The accord is “part of the strategic alliance,” the socialist head of state emphasized, and “has no precedent in the history” of the South American country and, with it, “Venezuela is ratifying its status as a partner supplying petroleum to China for the next 500 years.”
Chavez recalled for Xi that some 30 international oil firms currently are carrying out a quantification of the reserves in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt, and at the end of last year the proven existence of 174 million barrels of crude had been verified.
That volume represents about half of that which Chavez said exists in the Belt, which will make his country “the largest petroleum reserve in the world.”
Venezuela is the world's fifth-leading oil exporter and one of the main suppliers of crude to the United States.
The strategic fund was set up at the beginning of the decade with $4 billion contributed by China and $2 billion added by Venezuela.
Xi participated with Chavez at the start of a Venezuela-China Business Forum in Caracas at which representatives of both countries will seek to strike business deals in the areas of trade, industry, technology and energy. EFE