Cuba Could be Partner in New Deepsea Oil Port

Construction of a deepwater seaport in eastern Venezuela, key to the country's plans to boost oil exports, could be undertaken under a joint venture with Cuba, state news agency ABN reported.

The port could be built under the auspices of the Venezuelan trade and cooperation scheme known as Alba, which President Hugo Chavez is setting up to rival the US-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas.

The port would be in Manicuare in oil and gas-rich Sucre state, close to the planned Caripito and existing Puerto La Cruz refineries.

Officials at state oil firm PDVSA have said the company wants to use the port to export another 800,000b/d of synthetic crude within in five years, all from new projects in eastern Venezuela.

The deep-sea port could accommodate very large crude carriers and even the newer ultra-large crude carriers, some of which can ship a full day of Venezuelan production, or some 3Mb.

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