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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

China and Venezuela Plan Oil Deals to Cement Ties

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela said Saturday that it was working on a raft of oil deals with China, giving impetus to President Hugo Chavez's attempts to break his country's dependence on oil exports to the United States.

China National Petroleum will look to develop heavy crude oil production in the Orinoco Belt and cooperate with Venezuela in building three refineries in China and a "super-fleet" of crude tankers, the Information Ministry said.

"The United States as a power is on the way down, China is on the way up. China is the market of the future," Chavez was quoted as saying by an Information Ministry statement after meeting CNPC president Jiang Jiemin in Caracas.

China's economic expansion has turned it into the world's second-biggest oil consumer. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries member Venezuela was the fifth-biggest oil exporter to the United States in January.

Analysts think it pumps about 2.7 million barrels per day.

Chavez has ambitious plans to lift oil exports to China to lessen its dependence on its foe the United States, saying it hopes to send 1 million barrels per day to China by 2012.

This optimistic target follows an earlier goal of more than tripling oil exports to China of 160,000 bpd by 2009.

The Information Ministry said CNPC would sign on Monday a preliminary deal to take a 40 percent stake in various Venezuelan heavy crude projects.

CNPC is already working in the Junin 4 block but Chavez said the Chinese oil giant wanted to expand its Orinoco operations with "billions of dollars" of investment.