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LUKoil head to visit Venezuela for oil investment talks next week

Venezuela’s president said on Thursday joint investment in the Latin American country’s oil and gas sector will be discussed next week with Russia’s second largest crude producer LUKoil.

LUKoil head Vagit Alekperov is expected to arrive in Caracas on September 15 as part of an official Russian delegation. “LUKoil’s president will arrive in Venezuela next Monday to discuss plans for joint investment in the oil and gas industry,” Hugo Chavez said on national television.

The Russian delegation will also include top managers from energy giant Gazprom. “We must move towards creating a multi-polar world now more than ever,” Chavez said adding this was an issue he had previously discussed with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

After Chavez’s visit to Russia last July, the Venezuelan government announced LUKoil and Gazprom could invest up to $30 billion within five years in projects in the Orinoco basin. Venezuela is one of the largest oil producing countries in the world, with about 87 billion barrels of proven conventional oil reserves. In addition, it has huge non-conventional oil deposits (heavy oil). Most of these deposits are located in the Orinoco oil belt.

Venezuelan oil company PDVSA signed a deal with Gazprom this year to evaluate and certify the Ayacucho-3 oil fields in the Orinoco belt. LUKoil signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and an agreement with the company on joint exploration in the Junin-3 area, also in the Orinoco belt. (