(EnergyAsia, May 25 2012, Friday) — The Venezuelan government has doubled the borrowing ceiling on its oil-for-loan deal with China to US$8 billion provided for under its 2008 deal with the China Development Bank.

The oil-producing country’s Congress this week rubber-stamped the proposal that will see the government of President Hugo Chavez increase Venezuela’s dependence on China while attempting to reduce trade ties with the US.

Under the agreement, Latin America’s largest oil producer will pay the Chinese in oil as it seeks to maintain the momentum of its economic growth of 5.6% in the first quarter, its fastest in four years.

Having borrowed a total of US$32 billion from China, Venezuela has promised to raise oil exports to the Asian giant from around 400,000 b/d to one million b/d in the next few years.

Claiming 297 billion barrels in crude oil reserves, much of that in the Orinoco fields, Venezuela is planning to raise production to 3.5 million b/d in 2012, up from 2.99 million b/d last year, said the government.

The oil ministry said state PDVSA exported 2.47 million b/d last year, up from 2.42 million b/d in the previous year.

Its exports to Asia grew the fastest from 485,000 b/d in 2010 to 639,000 b/d last year as the Chavez government hastened its programme to develop trade ties with China.