Venezuela, Malaysia May Team on Refinery

The Associated Press
Monday, December 18, 2006; 11:21 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela and Malaysia may team up to build an oil refinery in the Asian nation, President Hugo Chavez said Monday after meeting with Malaysia's prime minister to discuss expanding trade and deepening ties.

Chavez said Venezuela would welcome investment in Venezuela by the Malaysian oil and natural gas company Petroliam Nasional Bhd., or Petronas, and it could participate in oil projects in the South American country.

"We are building a strategic alliance," Chavez told reporters after meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Chavez visited Malaysia in August and has sought closer ties with the predominantly Muslim country, which leads the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Chavez said the two governments are studying the possibility of building a refinery in Malaysia and added that the proposal would be included among a series of oil and other cooperative accords to be signed Tuesday.

He also said Venezuela's government hopes for technical assistance from Malaysia in food production and the making of environmentally friendly biodiesel.

© 2006 The Associated Press