Nicaragua assembly approves $6.5 bln refinery
MANAGUA, Sept 20 |
MANAGUA, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Nicaragua's national assembly on Thursday approved the construction of a $6.5 billion refinery that is backed by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
Eighty of the 92 deputies in the assembly voted to approve the project first proposed in 2007 by Chavez. Leftist Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's party, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, holds a two-thirds majority in the assembly.
The first phase of the refinery is expected to be finished in 40 months, lawmakers said. Deputy Edwin Castro said the refinery would supply 65 percent of Central America's demand.
Chavez has sought to boost his influence abroad by offering preferential oil deals to nations in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Ortega, a former guerrilla leader and Cold War icon, is one of Chavez' main allies.
Earlier this year, China's CAMC Engineering Co Ltd began building a 1.08 million-barrel oil deposit tank and submarine pipelines for the refinery.
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