- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: Chavez visits South Africa, signs energy deal
- Date: 3rd September 2008
- Summary: VARIOUS OF SIGNING BILATERAL AGREEMENT
- Embargoed: 18th September 2008 13:00
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA3JFMV48XCW4P6I4SUVFUC7TNM
- Story Text: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez begins a two-day visit to South Africa securing a major energy deal.
Venezuela and South Africa signed an energy agreement on Tuesday (September 2) which South African President Thabo Mbeki and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez praised as a "strategic" cooperation.
Mbeki officially welcomed Chavez on his first state visit to South Africa in the city of Pretoria. The welcoming ceremony included a 21-gun salute which reverberated through the town centre.
"We have been looking forward to the President's visit for some time, indeed I am very, very happy that he has able to make it," Mbeki said.
Later the two delegation signed a string of agreements on cooperation on the oil and gas sectors and oil exploration in Venezuela. No details were immediately available.
Venezuela has one of the world's largest oil reserves and developing commercial relations in this sector could provide alternative sources of energy to South Africa.
South Africa's state-owned PetroSA held high-level discussions with its Venezuelan counterpart, PDVSA, on projects including oil exploration and the production of heavy crude oil in the Orinoco belt of Venezuela.
PetroSA operates one of the world's largest gas-to-liquids (GTL) refineries at Mossel Bay on the southern coast of South Africa, and is actively pursuing oil exploration in Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Egypt.
Venezuela is South Africa's third largest trading partner within the Andean Community, with total trade between the two countries valued at 896 million rand ($114.9 million) in 2007.
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