Energy and arms dominate Russia-Venezuela talks

Russian energy majors have signed co-operation agreements with Venezuela’s state-owned oil and gas company, PDVSA, during President Hugo Chavez’s two-day visit to Moscow. Russia and Venezuela are working towards the formation of a strategic alliance in the energy sector, said Chavez after talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Moreover, Dmitry Medvedev and Hugo Chavez have promised to take personal control over the implementation of key joint oil and gas projects.

To watch Hugo Chavez’s summing up the results of his two-day visit to Moscow, please follow the link

Energy deals

The Russian-British oil venture TNK-BP and PDVSA have agreed on the joint study of the Ayacucho-2 area in the Orinoco oil belt in Venezuela.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has signed a deal with PDVSA on the appraisal and certification of the Ayacucho-3 oil fields.

Lukoil and PDVSA have signed a memorandum of understanding and an agreement on joint exploration in the Junin-3 area and also in the Orinoco oil belt.

Medvedev commented that agreements signed by Gazprom, Lukoil and TNK-BP with Venezuela’s PDVSA create “a serious base for massive investments to develop co-operation in all dimensions.”

He added Russia and Venezuela are making a considerable contribution to ensuring energy security, and plan to step up this co-operation for the good of all nations.

“Russia and Venezuela are two large oil and gas nations. Energy security, in particular, depends on our co-ordinated actions. We will work together in a co-ordinated and correct manner,” he said.

Medvedev stressed that bilateral co-operation in this area “is not directed against any states.”

“It is mutually beneficial,” he said.

Arms co-operation

No arms deals were signed this time round but since 2003 Venezuela has racked up contracts worth over $US 4 billion for Russian weapons and there are plans to buy more.

Venezuela wants to equip its armed forces with Russian submarines, helicopters and anti-aircraft systems.

The country has already bought over 50 combat helicopters, 24 Su-30MK2 fighters, and 100,000 Ak-103 rifles from Russia, and also holds a licence for their production.

Global issues

Dmitry Medvedev stated that both Russia and Venezuela have very similar positions on key international problems.

“What’s also important is that the positions of our countries concerning the priority of international law and the central role of the UN in search of joint answers to the tough questions of today coincide,” Medvedev stressed.

Economic ties

Dmitry Medvedev referred to the development of economic ties between the two countries, as well as the need to optimise Russian-Venezuelan trade turnover.

“This is not the limit. We are talking about enriching our relations with good new projects,” he said.

Putin-Chavez meeting

President Chavez also discussed political, economic and defence co-operation with the Russian Prime Minister at Putin’s residence near Moscow.

Putin said energy is one of their spheres of co-operation and both Russia and Venezuela are making a substantial contribution to the world energy market.

“Russia-Venezuela relations have a solid foundation and are developing successfully,” he added.

“First and foremost, we co-operate in transport, space exploration, high technology and, certainly, in military-technical spheres,” Putin said.

Putin also said he would visit Venezuela.

“I remember your invitation, and I will certainly pay a visit,” he told Chavez.

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