Venezuela's state oil company said
Wednesday it has signed a deal with Brazilian industrial conglomerates Eisa and Maua Jurong to build ten oil tankers in Venezuela.
The joint venture will produce at least eight Panamax tankers, the largest type of vessel capable of navigating the locks of the Panama canal.
PDVSA plans to increase its total fleet to 42 ships by 2012, the statement said.
Since taking office in 1999, President Hugo Chavez has worked to forge stronger ties with Brazilian companies while reducing Venezuela's dependence on the United States as its top buyer by trying to find new markets for its heavy crude in Latin America and Asia.