Venezuela and Ecuador Sign Energy Agreements

By Steven Mather

Caracas, January 17, 2007 (— Venezuela and Ecuador yesterday signed nine energy accords in a move that they say will strengthen the already close links between the two governments.

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and his Ecuadorian counterpart Rafael Correa signed the agreements along with their respective Energy Ministers in Quito, the Ecuadorian capital yesterday.

As part of the agreements Venezuela’s state owned oil company PDVSA will send 220,000 barrels of diesel fuel per day while they will receive from Petroecuador 35,000 barrels of heavy crude over the next five years. There are also joint investment plans to build new oil refineries in Ecuador.

The energy cooperation agreements would be part of Petroandina and Petroamerica, through which Venezuela has been pushing energy integration throughout Latin America over the past few years.

Regarding PDVSA’s part of the deal Chavez said, “The first ship will soon arrive to Ecuadorian ports sailed by our socialist revolution.”

Venezuela and Ecuador are the first and fifth largest oil producing nations in Latin America and both are emphasizing that the agreements will be carried out with each government keeping full sovereign control of their resources.

After signing the accords Chavez spoke of the progress he felt had been made towards his goal of an integrated South America. “Eight years ago when we began our first period of government, we were alone, we were like a foreign body, now we are the majority those that take the flag of the integration of our peoples,” he said.

There were also agreements regarding tourism, cooperation in what was defined as the popular economy, and in the creation of a Bank of the South (Banco Sur), which would help countries wean themselves from dependency on the International Monetary Fund. At an earlier opportunity Chavez has said that he would be willing to have Venezuela's Central Bank deposit 10% of its reserves in Banco Sur.
The Venezuelan government has signed economic agreements with many governments across the globe in a bid to plant the seeds of what Chavez calls a multipolar world. He hopes in this way to weaken the neoliberal ideology promoted by the government of the United States.