The South American energy summit on Margarita island, Venezuela, concluded yesterday with a statement from the regionâ€™s leaders on oil, natural gas, and alternative fuel use and production; energy-saving policies and measures; and the creation of a regional energy council to regulate cooperation on energy-related matters.
Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil are said to have resolved behind closed doors their conflicts over ethanol production. Brazil is the worldâ€™s leading exporter of ethanol, and Chavez has in the past objected to its negative impact on poverty and food prices. However, Chavez said at the summit that biofuel production can be consistent with an agricultural economy. He also proposed to set up 13 new oil refineries throughout Latin America to counter the regionâ€™s reliance on U.S. energy plants.
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