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Venezuelan president promises oil supply for Belarus

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez promised Saturday to supply oil to Belarus signing an agreement with the former Soviet state’s visiting president for a joint venture to exploit oil and natural gas in Venezuela.

„The oil your nation needs ... is here, as much as you need for 100 years, 200 years,” Chavez said at a ceremony at Guara Este oilfield in eastern Venezuela. The two sides also agreed to set up a joint venture, 60% of which will be controlled by Venezuela’s state-run company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA. Belarus’ state-owned firm, Belorusneft, will take the remaining stake. „In a few years we will be able to produce nearly 50,000 barrels of oil a day between us, and that oil will go to Belarus,”Chavez said. The move is highly significant for Belarus, which relies on Russia for oil and gas supplies. In return, President Alexander Lukashenko, who was on his first visit to Venezuela, pledged military cooperation with Venezuela. „We have a way to respond to this great gift the Venezuelan people have given us,” Lukashenko said. (people.com.cn)