Venezuelan Oil Minister Alvaro Silva met with officials of ExxonMobil earlier in the week to discuss the company's participation in the two billion dollar Paria liquefied natural gas project, a ministry spokesman said Thursday. The meeting was set as ExxonMobil fears being excluded from the project, after the government admitted it started talks with Qatar. No details of the meeting were given. Earlier this year, Venezuela increased its stake in the project to 60% from 33%. The project is scheduled to begin operating in 2005 with an initial production capacity of four million metric tons a year. The $2 billion venture in the Paria peninsula originally consisted of Shell, ExxonMobil and Mitsubishi Corp. Shell was to control 30% of the deal and provide liquefaction technology. ExxonMobil was to hold 29% and contribute its offshore drilling expertise. Mitsubishi was to take 8% and bring its tankers and financing muscle into the deal.
According to a source in the Russian Defence Ministry, Russia started deploying elite commando units in eastern Libya. Russian GRU officers, mercenaries and advisors have arrived in Libya