Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are close to reaching an agreement on a $4.5 billion joint venture to build a heavy-oil refinery outside Recife in the northeast region of Brazil, according to a report by Bloomberg (www.bloomberg.com).

The two countries have been close to reaching an agreement on the refinery several times before, with Venezuela reluctant to approve the refinery, which is scheduled to start output in 2011. The refinery was first proposed in 2000.

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