Venezuela’s state oil company is in talks with the China Development Bank to develop technology for crude oil refining and upgrading, in the latest step in China’s efforts to secure relations with South America’s largest petroleum producer, the Wall Street Journal reported. Officials from Petroleos de Venezuela’s investigation wing, PDVSA Intevep, have met with representatives from China International Engineering Consulting Corp. and China Petroleum and Petrochemical Engineering, the oil company said in a statement issued Thursday. The parties are also considering cooperating on the processing of petroleum coke and sulfur byproducts. PDVSA aims to boost its output to around 4 million barrels a day from its current production level of 2.7 million barrels, after experiencing cash flow problems and declining production in recent years. Last year, China extended a $20 billion loan to Venezuela for housing and infrastructure projects that is scheduled to be paid back in oil shipments.