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BRIAN WATT: China plays host today to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. He’s kicking off a six-day visit to the Asian nation and trying to cut some oil deals there. China is the world’s second-largest consumer of black gold, after the United States. Jocelyn Ford has more.
JOCELYN FORD: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has promised to boost oil exports to China this year by 30 percent this year.
At the moment China buys just a trickle. Venezuela sells over half of its oil to the United States, aa country it doesn’t get along with.
Oil analyst Scott Weaver says while in China he wants to cement the partnership with other deals.
SCOTT WEAVER:“The bigger interest is joint projects, joint development of oil and gas reserves. They would guarantee a buyer in China. “
It might help China reduce its dependence on the Middle East.
But though such a deal might make political sense, the economics aren’t as attractive.
Venezuelan oil would be expensive to ship to China. That’s because super tankers are the best way to transport it here but they’d have to pass through the Panama Canal. They’re just too big for that.
In Beijing, I’m Jocelyn Ford for Marketplace.
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