San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica and Venezuela Still Talking Crude

Costa Rica is seeking to buy at least 20,000 barrels of fuel a day from Venezuela at preferential rates, said Robert Dobles, Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAET) minister.

Officials from MINAET, the National Oil Refinery (RECOPE), and Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. late last week discussed the price, type and amount of fuel that Costa Rica will be able to buy once it joins the Venezuelan alliance PetroCaribe next year.

Dobles, who was stingy on details, said the countries will reach a firm agreement in October or November.

Some 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries are part of PetroCaribe, which allows members to pay 60 percent of their fuel bill over 25 years at 1 percent interest with a two-year grace period. Payment for the other 40 percent is due within 90 days.

Costa Rica, set to join the initiative at the next summit, most likely in December, now imports about 17,000 barrels of crude oil from Venezuela a day and must pay the bill within seven days.

On Friday, officials from Petróleos de Venezuela were scheduled to travel to the Caribbean to visit the national refinery and a pipeline that runs from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Venezuela has expressed interest in using the pipeline to supply other PetroCaribe countries, Dobles said.

Costa Rica will be able to pay some of its fuel bill with goods and services. Emmanuel Hess, general manager of the Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER), discussed Tico products that Venezuela might purchase, such as tires, clothing, medicine, sugar and tuna.


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