President Dmitry Medvedev’s trip to Venezuela has cleared the way for increased Russian participation in developing Venezuela’s oil reserves, with the leaders of both nations agreeing to encourage the use of their national currencies in bilateral trade.
Gazprom and four other Russian companies will take part in the development of the Orinoco basin reserves, believed to be some of the largest in South America. This will include a new refinery to develop higher quality fuels from the ‘heavy’ oil in the basin.
The Russian President and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez also agreed to encourage the use of each other's currencies, in particular by establishing a bank with initial capital of four billion dollars. "Given the current economic difficulties, we discussed the possibility of using the Rouble and Bolivar in our trade operations from the perspective of creating reserves in national currencies."