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Friday, August 10, 2007

Chavez, Correa strike USD 5b deal

PressTV Iran, August 10, 2007

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has arrived in Ecuador after making stops at Argentine and Uruguay, as part of a four-nation tour.

On Thursday, Chavez and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa signed an agreement for construction of a giant oil refinery on Ecuador's Pacific coast expected to cost nearly USD 5b.

Chavez stressed the importance of energy integration in South America and remarked in a news conference on the difference between his efforts and "the savage hand of imperialism" in Iraq, referring to the United States.

The United States is like "Count Dracula," he said. "It wants to suck (the blood) of the world."

Correa, an admirer of Chavez, said the Venezuelan leader was acting out of solidarity with countries in the region and had no interest in earning a profit from the cooperation.

"Venezuela is the one that is pushing hardest for energy integration and it is one that least needs it," Correa said.

Chavez and Correa signed an agreement to begin technical studies on the refinery, which would process 300,000 barrels of oil a day.

The agreement contemplates the possibility of adding a petrochemical plant at an estimated cost of USD 10b.

Although Chavez is a popular figure in Ecuador, some Ecuadorians are concerned about close relations with Venezuela.

Chavez's next and last stop is Bolivia where his ally Evo Morales awaits him.

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