Venezuela, Belarus invest $8 bln in joint oil exploration

Belarus and Venezuela have agreed to invest $8 billion in joint development and production at the Junin-1 oil deposit in the Orinoco River Basin, the Venezuelan oil and energy minister said.

The agreement, which also envisions the construction of a heavy oil refinery in the region, was reached during a meeting of a high-level intergovernmental commission on Wednesday in Caracas.

Rafael Ramirez said the Junin 1 deposit contains an estimated 2 billion barrels of oil and could produce up to 200,000 barrels per day.

Venezuela is one of the largest oil producing countries in the world, with about 87 billion barrels of proven conventional oil reserves as of 2008. In addition, it has massive non-conventional oil deposits (heavy crude). Most of these deposits are located in the Orinoco oil belt.

Belarus, which has no hydrocarbon resources of its own, heavily depends on energy supplies from Russia and is seeking to diversify energy imports.

State-run Belarusian oil producer, Belorusneft, which opened a representative office in Venezuela in 2007, has already established a joint venture, Petrolera BeloVenezolana, jointly with Venezuela's state-owned petroleum company PdVSA for oil exploration and production.

MEXICO, December 24 (RIA Novosti)


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