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Expect More Focus on China and Russia in Post-Chavez Venezuela

If acting President Nicolas Maduro wins the April 14 election against Henrique Capriles then an increased focus on deals with China and Russia should be expected as he continues with his predecessor’s oil policy.

Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez, told a local TV station that, “we are not going to change one iota of the fundamental themes of President Chavez's policies.

We have a very important strategic relationship with China, which we're going to continue deepening and cultivating. It's the same with our cooperation with Russia ... Chavez's policies are more alive than ever, and we will push ahead with them.”

Related article: A Look at a Post-Chavez Venezuela

During his reign Chavez turned away from the US, the traditional buyer of Venezuela’s oil exports, to increase exports to China and Russia, eventually turning Beijing into the country’s biggest source of foreign funding.

Back in 2005 Venezuela was sending just a few thousand barrels a day to China, but that increased under Chavez’s watch to around 430,000 barrels a day, in repayment for $36 billion worth of loans.

China National Petroleum (CNPC) is also vital to Venezuela’s plans to develop the Orinoco oil field, one of the largest hydrocarbon reserves in the world. CNPC will work with PDSVA in a joint venture known as Petrourica, which is expected to begin producing oil within weeks.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com



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