Venezuelan, South Korean Officials Meet for Energy Talks

CARACAS (Dow Jones Newswires), Aug. 18, 2009

Venezuelan and South Korean officials met Tuesday to discuss possible joint energy projects in the heavy-oil Orinoco region and offshore areas, Venezuela's Oil Ministry said Tuesday.

The meetings that began Monday aim to build on plans already discussed in recent years to increase binational links with regard to oil, natural gas and petrochemicals activity, a statement from the ministry said.

The Venezuela government's broader goal in the talks, according to the statement, is to continue reducing its energy-sector relationship with the U.S.

The U.S. is Venezuela's main market for oil sales, and U.S. companies have been a key contributor to the energy technology and infrastructure used throughout Venezuela. But under a move toward a more socialist society, President Hugo Chavez has nationalized many U.S. oil firms and has been seeking to sell more crude oil to countries in Asia and elsewhere, and less to the U.S.

"The strategic aim of our country is to strengthen the cooperative links in energy to diversify our market, which has been concentrated in just one country (the U.S.) as a result  of the sell-out policies" of past administrations, the Venezuelan ministry statement said.

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