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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Will Chavez Keep his Word- MAURITANIA

N∞ 61307/10/2009
Will Chavez Keep his Word?
†††††The Latin American-African summit meeting organized by the Vezuelan president Hugo Shavez resulted in a flurry of energy contracts, including one for a refinery in Mauritania.

According to our sources, a government decision on Oct. 1 to modify the articles of association of Societe Mauritanienne des Industries de Raffinage (SOMIR) will enable Venezuelaís national oil company, PDVSA, to buy stakes in it. PDVSA could therefore modernize the refinery at Nouadhibou, which is owned by SOMIR but has never worked at more than 20% of its capacity. A memorandum of understanding to that effect was penned during the 2nd Latin America-Africa summit meeting at the end of September in Venezuela.

Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and his oil minister, Ahmed Ould Moulaye Ahmed, were on hand for the occasion.

The project that Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has pushed on several occasions would result in the rehabilitation of the Nouadhibou refinery which would be supplied by Venezuelan crude. The resulting oil products (around 20,000 bpd) would be sufficient to supply the sub-region, including Mali and Niger whose leaders were also present in Caracas. The combined consumption of the three countries would, in theory , absorb all of the products.

But the Venezuelan scheme could run into direct competition with the Zinder refinery in Niger on which work was kicked off by the China National Petroleum Corp late last year. Even if the Zinder refineryís economic profitability is far from certain given the absence of a local market, it was imposed by president Mamadou Tandja as a condition for CNPC being awarded the Agadem field.

Chavez often pledges to invest in numerous African projects but all his promises have so far come to nothing.

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