Russia, Venezuela Strengthen Energy Ties in Orinoco Oil Belt

Chavez and Medvedev
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During his visit to Russia, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev further strengthened energy ties by signing a package of deals, including a memorandum of understanding to develop the Junin-6 field in Venezuela, reports Russian media news source RIA Novosti.

Located in the South American country's Orinoco belt, which is estimated to house reserves of some 235 billion barrels of heavy oil, the Junin-6 field will be developed by state-run PDVSA and a consortium of major Russian oil producers consisting of TNK-BP, Lukoil, Gazprom and Surgutneftegaz.

According to Chavez, the Venezuelan-Russian joint venture will pump a daily output of 400,000 barrels of oil.

PDVSA also authorized an agreement with Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft for infrastructure in the Orinoco region, the media outlet said.  Transneft confirmed Friday that it will start construction on a 1,300-kilometer oil pipeline within three to four years, which PDVSA estimates will cost $600 million. 

Additionally, Transneft said it will build a 700 kilometer pipeline from the Junin-6 field.

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