May 29, 2023

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Iran, Venezuela sign MOUs on oil, gas, petchem co-op

TEHRAN- Iran and Venezuela inked several memorandums of understanding (MOUs) on the expansion of cooperation in the fields of oil, gas, and petrochemicals.

The MOUs were inked by Iranian Oil Minister Javad Oji and his Venezuelan counterpart Pedro Rafael Tellechea in the presence of Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, with the aim of strengthening bilateral cooperation between Iran and Venezuela in the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil industry, Shana reported on Sunday.

The development of oil and gas fields, and the reconstruction and renovation of Venezuelan oil refineries with the aim of maximizing the capacity of these complexes are among the issues mentioned in the MOUs signed by the two sides.

In these documents, agreements were also made about the reconstruction and modernization of Venezuelan petrochemical complexes with Iranian technical and engineering services and equipment, the reconstruction and modernization of the loading dock, oil terminal, and trade and export of oil, gas condensate, and petroleum products.

Oji arrived in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, at the head of a delegation on Thursday, to strengthen energy cooperation with the Latin American country.

The minister, who has traveled to Venezuela in order to strengthen energy cooperation in the upstream and downstream areas, was welcomed by the country’s officials.

Back in last December, Oji had discussed the latest developments in the oil market in a phone conversation with his former Venezuelan counterpart Tareck El Aissami.

The officials also talked about the development of energy cooperation between the two countries and followed up on the recent agreements reached between the two sides.

Iran and Venezuela have taken a new path to expand cooperation in all areas over the past two years, and the Latin American country has been one of the focal points of the Iranian oil ministry’s foreign diplomacy.

In May 2022, during a visit of the Iranian oil minister to Venezuela, the two countries signed several agreements and memorandums of understanding in various fields including the development of Venezuela’s oil and gas fields, upgrading and renovation of the country’s refineries, training of manpower in oil, gas and petrochemical industries, transfer of engineering and technical services and development of export markets for Venezuelan crude oil, gas condensate and petroleum products.

Later in June, heading a high-ranking politico-economic delegation Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited Tehran to sign a 20-year cooperation document with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

The strategic document included cooperation in the fields of politics, culture, economy, oil, petrochemicals, and tourism.

The cooperation between Iran and Venezuela, which had already begun with the exports of Iranian gasoline to this country in 2020, entered a new phase and expanded to other sectors following the signing of the mentioned document.

In September 2022, Venezuela increased its oil shipments to Asia through intermediaries and growing cargo swaps with Iran so that the country’s crude exports reached their third-highest level this year.

The OPEC member’s oil exports were volatile in early 2022 due to a lack of diluents required to produce exportable grades and unstable output amid processing outages and scarce drilling equipment.

But oil production and exports regained their footing in the third quarter, helped by Iran’s supplies of condensate and crude to state-run oil company PDVSA, and deliveries of Venezuelan heavy crude and fuel oil to Iranian state companies.

Iran has been swapping Venezuelan heavy oil and other commodities for gasoline, condensate, refinery parts, and technical assistance while providing the country with lighter oil to be used as diluent.

As its oil output becomes heavier, Venezuela struggles to source medium and light grades for its refineries, contributing to limited production and intermittent scarcity of motor fuels. The South American country also increasingly needs lighter crudes or refined products to turn its extra heavy oil output into exportable grades.

The country began shipping in heavy crude oil from Iran to use as feedstock in domestic refineries in May.

Iranian crude, which is similar in quality to Venezuela’s Mesa 30 crude, has helped PDVSA boost operations in its main oil-producing region, the Orinoco Belt.

Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the ninth meeting of the Iran-Venezuela Joint Economic Committee, which was held in Tehran in mid-November 2022, Venezuelan Transportation Minister Ramon Blazquez met with Head of Iran’s National Development Fund (NDF) Mehdi Ghazanfari, during which the Iranian side expressed readiness for investment in Venezuela’s oil and petrochemical projects.


Photo: Iranian Oil Minister Javad Oji (L) and his Venezuelan counterpart Pedro Rafael Tellechea

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