CARACAS, Thursday March 08, 2007 | Update
Venezuela has started land surveys required for construction
in Nicaragua of a USD 2.5 billion 150,000 bpd refinery expected
to be completed in four years, Reuters reported.
The announcement was made by Venezuelan Minister of Agriculture and Lands Elías Jaua, who headed a Venezuelan delegation meeting with Nicaraguan officials to review the agreements initialed by Nicaraguan and Venezuelan presidents Daniel Ortega and Hugo Chávez, respectively.
According to figures provided by Jaua, Chávez financial aid to Nicaragua is totaling some USD 430 million in energy, agriculture, health and social projects. "These investments are huge," Ortega conceded.
Out of this USD 430 million, USD 340 million has been earmarked for oil supply and other means to solve the Central American country's grave energy crisis, Efe explained. This initiative includes shipment from Venezuela of a first batch of electric powerhouses at a cost of USD 50 million. Another similar batch is scheduled to be shipped any time soon, and Venezuela has also pardoned Nicaragua's USD 22 million resulting from Venezuelan fuel sales to a number of Sandinist mayors in Nicaragua last year.
The remaining funds -USD 90 million- will be injected into different healthcare, education, exports, agriculture and electric power projects. This includes USD 10 million that are not refundable and will be used to guarantee free healthcare and education of Nicaraguans, while other USD 10 million are funding a number of agriculture projects starting May in Nicaragua.
02:57 PM. HEAVY RAINS. Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Elias Jaua reported that the government is designing plans to support farmers, cattlemen and peasants of the state of Mérida who have been hit by heavy rains that have caused crop losses.