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THE NEW YORK TIMES: Brazil's Petrobras Signs New Oil Contract

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — Brazil's state-run petroleum company has signed new oil contracts with Venezuela that give Petrobras Brasileiro SA a 40 percent production stake in Venezuelan fields where it currently operates.
The contracts, signed Saturday, give Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PVDSA, a 60 percent stake, Petrobras CEO Sergio Gabrielli said Sunday at a press conference before the annual meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said 17 Venezuelan and foreign companies agreed Friday to turn privately run oil fields into joint ventures controlled by PVDSA.
Under the new arrangement, PDVSA holds a minimum 60 percent stake in the new partnerships, splitting oil revenues with companies.
The new pacts that convert 32 privately run oil fields into 30 joint ventures are replacing old agreements that gave the foreign companies a bigger share.
Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's second-largest integrated oil company, and Italian oil and gas company Eni SpA did not sign the agreements.
Exxon avoided the new terms by selling its stake in the 15,000-barrel-a-day Quiamare-La Ceiba field in December to its partner, Repsol YPF SA, while Eni was not permitted to participate in the joints ventures due to pending Venezuelan tax debts.
Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and China National Petroleum were among the 17 Venezuelan and foreign oil companies that agreed to the new legal framework.
Venezuela's Congress approved new oil field guidelines on Thursday.

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