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LISA NAPOLI: News today that Hugo Chavez is courting a new partner as he nationalizes Venezuela’s oil industry. From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Dan Grech reports, it’s China.
DAN GRECH: Today the China National Petroleum Corporation will sign a deal to invest billions in Venezuelan oil production.
The two countries will create a super-fleet of massive tankers to ship the crude halfway around the world. They’ll also build three specialized refineries in China to handle Venezuela’s variety of oil.
PEDRO PALMA: The big open question is, why, if we have already the refinery capacity in the U.S., in our natural market and principal market, why we have to go to China to look for a new market?
That’s Venezuelan economist Pedro Palma.
PALMA: This is not an economic decision. It’s a political decision.
And a profitable one politically for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
The socialist president wants to loosen his country’s oil ties to the United States, his main political rival. He says U.S. power is in decline, while communist China is the market of the future.
I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.