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Ecuador, Venezuela to launch joint oil exploration in Venezuela

Ecuador and Venezuela will explore oil reserves in Venezuela, Ecuadorian Mining and Oil Minister GaloChiriboga said Wednesday.

Ecuador’s state-owned oil company Petroecuador will sign an agreement Friday with Venezuelan oil giant PDVSA on the joint exploration of the oil reserves at Campo Ayacucho in Venezuela’s Orinoco Strip, said Chiriboga in a statement. Under the agreement, the two oil giants will create a joint venture to perform the task, Chiriboga said, adding that the PDVSA will hold majority shares of the company. The move marks the beginning of the internationalization of Petroecuador’s operations, according to Chiriboga.

Ecuador and Venezuela, which have close cooperation in economy, oil and culture, are the only two Latin American countries that are part of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Chiriboga said that Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will attend the signing of the agreement. In the coming months, Petroecuador will also forge an alliance with Chilean state oil firm ENAP to explore gas in the Magellan Strait, Chiriboga added.

The field at Campo Ayacucho, located in Venezuela’s Orinoco Strip, has oil reserves of 14 billion barrels, according to preliminary reports. Ecuador is the fifth oil producer in South America, with a daily production of about 511,000 barrels. (Xinhua)