Venezuela to Ship Fuel to Belize
Saturday October 29, 9:12 pm ET
Venezuela to Begin Shipping Fuel to Belize Under Caribbean Oil Deal
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuela has signed an agreement with Belize's state oil company to begin shipping refined petroleum products like gasoline, jet fuel and diesel to the Central American country, Venezuela's state oil firm said Saturday.
The accord was signed Friday and came as state-run Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., commonly known as PDVSA, also signed a maritime shipping accord with Cuba to prepare for stepping up fuel shipments in the Caribbean, PDVSA said in a statement.
President Hugo Chavez's government has agreed to sell fuel directly to Belize and other Caribbean countries under an initiative called Petrocaribe. The agreement requires participating countries to pay 60 percent in cash and allows them to finance the rest through long-term, low-interest loans.
Venezuela, the world's fifth largest oil exporter, has said it will accept services and goods such as rice or bananas as partial payment.
The first shipment of 15,000 barrels of diesel was to leave Venezuela's Isla Refinery in Curacao on Sunday to be sent to Belize, PDVSA said.
The deal was signed by Asdrubal Chavez, who is the president's brother and heads PDVSA's shipping arm PDV Marina, and Cresencio Sosa, a vice minister of investment for Belize, PDVSA said.
"The idea is to work for Petrocaribe to take shape in the shortest time possible," said Chavez of PDV Marina. "Until now six countries have signed supply contracts under the Petrocaribe accord, and the idea is to benefit the member countries, especially the nations affected by recent hurricanes."
PDVSA described the shipping accord with Cuba as an "accord of integration in the area of maritime transport" aimed at the "creation of a bi-national company" in charge of handling oil shipments to the Caribbean.
The agreement, signed by Chavez and Cuban Transport Minister Alvaro Montero, calls for using the fleets of PDVSA and Cuba, although it also leaves open the possibility of incorporating ships from other companies, PDVSA said.
"This agreement is the continuation of the process of energy integration... in the area of transport," Chavez said, according to the statement.