Caracas – Venezuela's energy minister gave assurances Friday that his country will participate in the Abreu e Lima refinery joint venture, noting that it has provided Brazilian state-controlled oil giant Petrobras cash guarantees.
"We already have that money and we're putting it up as a guarantee. I think there's no guarantee more solid than money in cash," Rafael Ramirez told reporters at the close of a regional energy gathering.
"Since they wanted guarantees, we came up with the cash and it's there. So now Bndes (Brazil's state-owned development bank) has to complete some formalities and we'll enter the refinery (joint venture)," Ramirez, who also is president of state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., said.
Ramirez said he recently spoke "directly" with Petobras CEO Jose Sergio Gabrielli and the two of them agreed to extend the deadline for PDVSA to fund its participation for another 60 days, or until late January.
The Brazilian and Venezuela governments agreed on the refinery joint venture in 2005, but in 2007 Petrobras decided to start construction on its own accord due to PDVSA's delays in providing promised funds.
A total of $15.29 billion is to be invested in the refinery, which is being built in the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco and will have the capacity to process 230,000 barrels of crude per day starting in 2013.
Petrobras will have a 60 percent stake in the refinery and PDVSA the remaining 40 percent.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sept. 29 that elements within Petrobras were not interested in complying with the terms of the joint venture agreement.
But on Nov. 7, after meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota, Chavez said all pending problems and concerns surrounding the refinery project had been resolved.