China Stakes Its Claim in Latin American Energy:

to China. Only in December 2020 did Venezuela resume direct shipments of crude to the Chinese. 42

imported oil and only a small fraction of its imported coal and natural gas. 45

One reason for this is the high cost of shipping crude from Latin America to mainland China. China’s primary source of imported oil is seaborne, mostly from the Middle East. As a result, it is probably more accurate to describe Beijing’s investments in LAC oil exploration and production as a means to diversify oil supplies, explore and enter new markets and partner with foreign GUYANA: China has invested in a variety of oil, mineral, timber and infrastructure projects in Venezuela’s economically poor but resource-rich eastern neighbor. The largest, by far, is in oil. CNOOC holds a 25% interest in a consortium developing the Stabroek offshore block, a $9 billion project which covers 6.6 million acres and contains estimated recoverable reserves of more than 8 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe). ExxonMobil, the project operator, has 45% of shares and Hess 30% in Stabroek, which began producing in December 2019. corporations, which can open the door to new technology and new business in oil and gas.

Since 2007, the CDB and CHEXIM have loaned Venezuela $62.2 billion, according to figures from the Inter-American Dialogue and the Global China Initiative at Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center. About $50 billion of that total reportedly involves debt owed under oil-for-loan agreements. Reuters reported in August 2020 that the Venezuelan government had negotiated a grace period with China for $19 billion in debt, ending at year-end. 43 Indeed, over the past 20 years, LAC countries have contributed increasingly to China’s oil imports, growing from 2% in 2005 to more than 13% in 2008. 44 But despite China’s domestic concerns over energy security, the role of LAC as an oil supplier is small. Even after over two decades of Chinese operations in the region, Latin America provides less than 10% of China’s

ExxonMobil announced its first crude discovery in the offshore field in 2015, propelling Guyana into the club


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