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China to become a top oil client: Chavez

Associated Press via Houston Chronicle
CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez said China is set to rival the United States as Venezuela’s top oil buyer as he announced new plans with the Asian powerhouse to jointly ship oil, build refineries and expand crude production.

Chavez, speaking Friday after meeting with an official from the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp., told reporters that, “As a power, the United States is going down, while China is moving up.” Chavez said Venezuela was on track to reach its goal of raising oil sales to China to 1 million barrels a day by 2012 from its current level of about 150,000 barrels a day.

“When we begin speaking of 1 million barrels of crude, we’re nearing the level of Venezuelan supplies to the United States,” Chavez said. Venezuela currently ships about 1.5 million barrels a day to the United States. ..

Chavez announced plans for Venezuela and China to build three refineries in China that will process a total of 800,000 barrels a day of heavy Venezuelan crude. “In two years these refineries should be ready, built. Within two or three years,” he said. ..
(23 Mar 2007)

China’s Hu heads to Russia urgently seeking fuel

Emma Graham-Harrison, Reuters
Chinese President Hu Jintao goes to Moscow on Monday, confidently offering trade deals with an economy roaring back home, but urgently seeking oil, gas and assurance as the two countries eye each other’s resurgent power. ..

Previous plans for key crude and gas pipelines have languished after initial agreements were trumpeted by both sides, underscoring the brittleness of the two countries’ friendship. “Chinese-Russian ties are in a phase of improvement that is no mean feat, but undercurrents persist and mutual confidence still urgently needs upgrading,” stated an overview of relations in a recent Chinese oil policy journal.

China wants lower prices for the gas and it is unclear whether Russia has enough crude to satisfy China and Japan — who have been vying for supplies. Moscow has flip-flopped over which of these Asian rivals should get the first pipeline connection. ..
(23 Mar 2007)

Iran asking oil clients not to pay in dollar

Gulf Daily News
TEHRAN: Iran, embroiled in a nuclear row with Washington, is asking more clients to pay for oil in currencies other than the dollar and 60 per cent or more of its crude income is in other units, an official said yesterday.

Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, international affairs director of state-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), told Reuters almost all of Iran’s European clients and some of its Asian customers had accepted making payments in non-dollar currencies.

He said Iran, which has pushed for payment in euros and other currencies since September when Washington slapped sanctions on a big Iranian bank, was concerned about the weak state of the greenback and not being prompted by politics. “To the best of my knowledge, what we are doing at NIOC is purely something based on commercial reasons,” he said. “Part (of this) has to do with the strength of the dollar.” ..
(23 Mar 2007)

Ecuador suffering huge losses from oil protests: president

Staff, China Peoples Daily
Ecuador is losing 500,000 U.S. dollars every day as a result of protests by local residents at Amazon-based production sites of Brazilian state oil company Petrobras, President Rafael Correa said Friday.
Petrobras stopped pumping crude oil eight days ago in the Amazon area when local people started protesting and damaging pipelines at oil production sites, demanding the hiring of local residents, rehabilitation of local roads and other services. ..
(24 Mar 2007)
Surely oil not extracted is not income lost, merely deferred, and if the price is destined to rise maybe protesters are actually doing Ecuador’s government a favour.-LJ