Project ID: 38053

CDB provides $4.015 billion loan for Sinovensa Oil Field Development Project (Linked to Project ID#38319, #38056, and #38055)

Commitment amount

$ 4529066757.042188

Adjusted commitment amount

$ 4529066757.04

Constant 2021 USD


Funding agency [Type]

China Development Bank (CDB) [State-owned Policy Bank]




Industry, mining, construction (Code: 320)

Flow type


Level of public liability

Other public sector debt

Financial distress






Mixed (The next section lists the possible statuses.)





Financial Flow Classification

OOF-like (The next section lists the possible statuses.)

Official Development Assistance

Other Official Flows

Vague (Official Finance)

Flows categorized based on OECD-DAC guidelines

Project lifecycle


Completion (The next section lists the possible statuses.)










Planned start


Planned complete


Actual complete


NOTE: Red circles denote delays between planned and actual dates



On June 3, 2013, China Development Bank (CDB) signed a $4.015 billion loan facility agreement with Petrolera Sinovensa, S.A. (Petrosinovensa or Sinovensa) — a special purpose vehicle and a joint venture of CVP (60% ownership stake) and CNPC Venezuela B.V. (40% ownership stake) — for the Sinovensa Oil Field Development Project. This loan carried the following borrowing terms: a maturity of 10 years (final maturity date: 2023) and an interest rate of LIBOR plus a 5.8% margin. Pursuant to an associated guarantee, Pétroleos de Venezuela S.A (PDVSA) made a payment guarantee obligation of 60% of Petrosinovensa’s payment obligations under the facility agreement. As of 2014, $291 million from the facility agreement was drawn by Petrosinovensa. As of 2015, $699 million from the facility agreement was drawn by Petrosinovensa. As of 2016, $1.256 billion from the facility agreement was drawn by Petrosinovensa. As of December 31, 2017, the loan had achieved a disbursement rate of 43.7% ($1.75488 billion out of $4.015 billion). The loan’s amount outstanding was $291 million as of December 31, 2014, $699 million as of December 31, 2015, $1.256 billion as of December 31, 2016, $1.58 billion as of December 31, 2016, $1.313 billion as of December 31, 2018, and $1.182 billion as of December 31, 2019. Additionally, two smaller credit lines of $1.5 billion (captured via Project ID#38055) and $500 million (captured via Project ID#38056) were signed for refinery operations and the purchase of oilfield equipment, respectively. The purpose of the Sinovensa Oil Field Development Project was to construct and develop oil field facilities (the so-called Morichal Operational Complex) to extract oil from the Carabobo block within the Morichal oil field in the Orinoco oil belt. The ultimate goal of the project was to increase the daily production capacity of Petrosinovensa from 90,000 barrels to 330,000 barrels by 2014. Huanqiu Contracting and Engineering Corporation (HCG) was the EPC contractor responsible for implementation. It was originally envisaged that the project would commence in January 2012 and conclude in September 2017. However, the project encountered multiple delays and problems during implementation. The main facilities supporting the 165,000 barrel-per-day (bbl/d) expansion were not completed and commissioned until 2018. On September 19, 2018, the President of CNPC attended a test operation ceremony at the José Antonio Anzoátegui Industrial Complex (CIJAA) in Barcelona City. In September 2018, CVP also sold a 9.9% ownership stake in Sinovensa to CNPC Venezuela B.V. to reduce the joint venture’s overall debt exposure (thus increasing CNPC Venezuela B.V.’s ownership stake in Sinovensa to 49.9%). By the end of March 2019, the project gained stable power, taking oil and gas production to 93,000 barrels per day (b/d). However, in order to avoid the sanctions established by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) against the Venezuelan Government, CNPC halted its oil production activities in Venezuela in September 2019. This included both Petrosinovensa’s operations and those of its engineering subsidiary, HCG, which also charged Sinovensa for the non-payment of over $50 million. In a letter dated September 3, 2019, HCG’s senior executive in Venezuela Liang Qiang notified Sinovensa project manager and CNPC official Zhao Xiongfei that the construction of ‘complementary works’ associated with Sinovensa's capacity expansion from 105,000 b/d to 165,000 b/d would be suspended immediately pending full payment of two unpaid invoices totaling $52 million (issued in November 2018 and February 2019). The letter cited HCG's discretionary authority under its contract with Sinovensa to suspend work unilaterally if Sinovensa missed two successive invoice payments. At the time, a Chinese diplomat told a media outlet that '[HCG] suspended its activities to encourage Sinovensa, in this case PdV, to pay its past due debts promptly so that work can resume quickly,' Then, in October 2019, Sinovensa President Alberto Emilio Bockh and three other officials (Sinovensa’s General Services Director Domingo Raga, Finance Director Leon Jose Gonzalez, and Security Director Alejandro Armas Cordero) were arrested by Venezuela’s General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) for 'embezzlement, conspiracy of officials with contractors, arrangement of bidding procedure or false allegations, as well as conspiracy to commit a crime.' DGCIM was also, at the time, seeking Sinovensa's Contracting Director Yurialbert Garcia on corruption charges. Then, on April 26, 2020, in the midst of a Covid-19 quarantine, a huge fire broke out at the Morichal Operational Complex in the Orinoco Oil Belt. Several factors caused it to develop into a forest fire 'of unimaginable proportions,' as Eudis Girot, Executive Director of the United Oil Workers’ Federation described it. According to half a dozen oil workers speaking to Reuters, the surrounding bushes had not been maintained, the plant’s firefighters were under-resourced, and frequent oil spills in the vicinity had never been cleaned up. Prior to the fire, Petrosinovensa was reportedly responsible for 15% of Venezuela’s oil production. Then, in May 2023, Bloomberg reported that Sinovensa's output had nearly doubled in April 2023 (to 90,000 b/d), although its production was still down by approximately 40% vis-a-vis in 2015 level of 160,000 b/d.

Additional details

1. This project is also known as Phase 1 of the MPE3 Oilfield Project. The Chinese project title is 委内瑞拉MPE3项目. 2. AidData has estimated the all-in interest rate (6.736%) by adding 5.8% to average 6-month LIBOR in June 2013 (0.936%). 3. Petrosinovensa was established as a joint venture of Corporación Venezolana del Petróleo, S.A. (CVP) and CNPC Venezuela B.V. in February 2008. CVP is a subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), which is Venezuela’s state-owned oil company. CNPC Venezuela B.V. is a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which is a Chinese state-owned oil company. 4. The CDB loan matures 10 years from the date on which all precedents in the facility agreement have been satisfied or waived. 5. In 2017, the New York Branch of CNPC Finance provided a loan for the Sinovensa Oil Field Development Project (MPE3 project) in Venezuela (see and This transaction warrants further investigation. One possible explanation is that CNPC Venezuela B.V. may have obtained a loan from the New York Branch of CNPC Finance to facilitate its acquisition of an additional 9.9% equity stake in Sinovensa in September 2018.

Number of official sources


Number of total sources


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Direct receiving agencies [Type]

Petrolera Sinovensa, S.A [Joint Venture/Special Purpose Vehicle]

Implementing agencies [Type]

China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) [State-owned Company]

China Huanqiu Contracting & Engineering Co., Ltd. (HQCEC) [State-owned Company]

Petrolera Sinovensa, S.A [Joint Venture/Special Purpose Vehicle]

Guarantee provider [Type]

Pétroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) [State-owned Company]


Cash proceeds from oil export receipts

Loan Details


8 years

Interest rate


Grace period

0 years

Grant element (OECD Grant-Equiv)


Bilateral loan

Investment project loan

Project finance