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Ecuador, Venezuela to Build $5 Billion Oil Refinery

Officials in Ecuador say Venezuela is to help them build a $5 billion oil refinery that will become operational in 2012.

Oil Minister Galo Chiriboga said Thursday the refinery will initially process Ecuadorean crude, but when supplies are depleted, Venezuelan crude will be used. The facility will have the capacity to refine 300,000 barrels of oil daily.

The minister says a logistics study for the project should be concluded by June and that it is a way of promoting Latin American investment in refineries.

Ecuador is capable of producing more than 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day, but has no refining facilities and must import gasoline.

Ecuador is the fifth largest oil producer in South America. The country rejoined the OPEC cartel last month after a 15-year break

Venezuela is the only other Latin American country in OPEC.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.