Something of Chinese and Russian theme today. Underpinning two of the stories is China’s growing international search for oil and gas to keep feeding its rapidly expanding economy. The other issue is the geo-politics of the Russian oil industry.

Lets start in Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez has said China will rival the United States as Venezuela’s top oil buyer as he announced new plans to ship oil, build refineries and expand crude production to the economic power house.

Chavez said Venezuela was on track to reach its goal of raising oil sales to China to 1 million barrels a day by 2012 from its current level of about 150,000 barrels a day. When we begin speaking of 1 million barrels of crude, we’re nearing the level of Venezuelan supplies to the United States,” Chavez said.

Venezuela currently ships about 1.5 million barrels a day to the United States. “As a power, the United States is going down, while China is moving up,” he said. Chavez also announced plans for Venezuela and China to build three refineries in China that will process a total of 800,000 barrels a day of heavy Venezuelan crude.

Chavez remarked that the agreements “places us without doubt as one of (China’s) most important partners, I think, not just on the continent but in the world.”  But don’t forget about Russia…