Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA has reached several new construction and engineering agreements for refining projects with private firms in South Korea.
A delegation from the NOC signed separate contracts with consortium STX-Daewoo and builder SK Engineering and Construction for the development of pipelines and transport infrastructure at the Junín and Carabobo industrial complexes in the Orinoco heavy oil belt.
PDVSA also signed an MOU with engineering giant Hyundai for the financing of an EPC contract for the US$2.9bn Batalla de Santa Inés refinery in the southeast of Barinas state.
Hyundai was also awarded a contract by the NOC for the construction of a 900MW coked-fired thermoelectric plant at the Carabobo industrial complex.
On the same Asian trip, PDVSA president and Venezuelan energy minister Rafael Ramírez laid a foundation stone at the 400,000b/d Jie Yang refinery in China's Guangdong province.
The refinery, located close to the city of Nanhai, is the first of three refineries in China totaling 800,000b/d capacity being constructed by PDVSA alongside the Asian country's state refiner PetroChina.
The projects will come online at separate stages through 2019, and will process crude sent from Orinoco-based JV's between PDVSA and Asian firms.
Venezuelan officials aim to send around 400,000b/d to China under current agreements, and PDVSA has publicly stated its goal to take this figure up to 1Mb/d within the coming years.
And finally, PDVSA has suffered a fresh accident at its Amuay refinery in Falcón state, according to local press reports.
Caracas-based daily El Universal reports that a catalytic disintegration unit at the 110,000b/d refinery suffered a fault during a reactivation process after being offline for maintenance work.
The incident is the latest in a series to have been reported across the oil company's operations in recent months, including oil spills in the Guanipa and Guarapiche rivers, in which up to 100,000b/d is estimated to have been lost.
Amuay is part of the Paraguaná refining complex (CRP) which also consists of the Cardón and El Palito refineries, and has a total production capacity of more than 900,000b/d of crude.
Copyright 2012 BNamericas.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(Originally published April 27, 2012, by Business News Americas.)