Venezuela to discuss pumping oil with Panama to fuel China

Dec 29, 2004 01:00 AM

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez Araque was quoted as saying that oil officials will meet with the Panamanian government for further discussion on a project to pump oil through an existing pipeline from the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean.
Rodriguez Araque has, however, denied that the pipeline project will in any way affect oil exports to the United States but agreements signed in Beijing to sell Venezuelan crude oil to China have been received unconvincingly in Washington, DC, where Beltway bureaucrats are already upset by Caracas warnings to back off from interfering in Venezuela's sovereign domestic-political affairs.

While Rodriguez Araque is emphatic in saying that there is no intention on the part of Venezuela to cut oil supplies to the United States, President Chavez Frias has several times warned the White House that continued funding of Venezuela's anti-democratic opposition efforts to overthrow his government will not be tolerated.
Rodriguez Araque, who until recently was president of state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) explains that Venezuela is seeking to increase its production capacity to 5 mm bpd from a current 3.1 mm bpd.

Venezuela has agreed to sell China 120,000 barrels a month and to give the Chinese free rein to help PdVSA pump crude from 15 Venezuelan oil fields... and that is why Venezuela is out to reduce transport costs to the Pacific by using a pipeline across Panama which was built years ago to carry up to 800,000 bpd east from the Pacific.
Panamanian officials say that the existing pumps can be reversed to send crude east-west across the Panama Isthmus to the Pacific for loading aboard tankers en route to China's eastern seaboard terminals.

Whether or not there will be Chinese financial or technological support for the latest Venezuelan project is not immediately clear but Rodriguez, just returned from accompanying the President to Beijing on a 5-day official visit says he will fly to Panama for top-level discussions.

Source: VHeadline
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