PetroSA to develop oil fields in Venezuela

STATE-OWNED oil company PetroSA has clinched a potentially lucrative deal with the Venezuelan government to develop oil fields in the energy-rich South American country.

STATE-OWNED oil company PetroSA has clinched a potentially lucrative deal with the Venezuelan government to develop oil fields in the energy-rich South American country.

In addition, President Hugo Chavez also signed off deals with Mauritania, Niger, Sudan and Cape Verde to form joint ventures while promising to establish similar projects throughout Africa.

The deals were clinched during the two-day Africa-South America summit held at Margarita Island over the weekend and attended by over 30 leaders from the two continents.

In an overt bid to break the developing worlds increasing reliance on the West, an upbeat Chavez said he also intended to form joint mining companies with nations such as Namibia, Mali and Niger.

Chavez said the two regions possessed enormous economic potential, adding "we are going to get results".

It is unclear how much investment and aid Chavez is prepared to offer to Africa since his oil-producing country is coping with a sharp drop in revenues due to lower world crude prices.

The summit was hosted by Chavez and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi to strengthen "South-South" ties at the two-day meeting, where Gaddafi proposed the two continents form a Nato-like defence alliance. Said Chavez: "With this summit a new era begins in the unity of South America and Africa."

President Jacob Zuma, who had met Chavez earlier, described his Venezuelan counterpart as an "interesting character. He is quite an energetic man, quite talkative," Zuma told SABC radio.

PetroSA spokesperson Thabo Mabaso said yesterday the company was unable to comment but an announcement on the deal would be made soon. - Sapa-AP

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