Business

Russia and Venezuela sign nuclear power and oil deals

Hugo Chavez and Dmitry Medvedev
Image caption Several deals were signed in the presence of Presidents Chavez and Medvedev

Russia is to build a nuclear power plant in Venezuela as part of a series of energy deals between the nations.

Russia will build two 1,200 megawatt nuclear reactors at the Venezuelan plant, said the ITAR-Tass news agency.

Meanwhile Rosneft, Russia's state oil giant, will buy a 50% stake in German refinery firm Ruhr Oel from Venezuelan state-owned company PDVSA.

The agreement, worth $1.6bn (£1bn), was signed at the Kremlin during Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's visit.

However the cost of the nuclear deal was not immediately revealed.

"It could be in 10 years, it could be earlier," said Sergei Kirienko, head of the Russian state nuclear power corporation Rosatom.

"Right now we have no practical activity in building nuclear power stations.

"However, under the agreement signed today, that possibility has now in principle appeared."

BP assets

In addition to the nuclear and Rosneft deals, a shareholder in energy firm TNK-BP said that the company, which is owned by BP and Russian billionaires, would buy three of BP's assets in Venezuela by the end of the year.

Russia's energy ministry and Venezuela's oil ministry signed an agreement in Moscow to support the deal.

TNK-BP shareholder, billionaire German Khan told journalists: "We will buy 16.7% of Petromanagas, 40% of Petroperija and 26.6% of Bouqeron."

He did not say how much TNK-BP would pay for the stakes.

European assets

While Rosneft will become an owner of a 50% stake in Germany's Ruhr Oel, BP owns the other 50%.

Ruhr Oel holds stakes in four German petrochemical and refinery plants.

Rosneft said in a statement that the plants' capacity is 23.2 million tonnes per year, or about 20% of Germany's refining capacity.

The Russian firm's president, Eduard Khudainatov, said: "As a result of this acquisition, 18% of Rosneft's refining capacity will be located in the heart of industrialised Europe.

"This transaction is consistent with our strategy to expand our presence with high quality assets in key international markets."

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