Major Chevron Venezuela gas find

Offshore staff

(Venezuela)-Chevron reported a major find of about 6 tcf of natural gas in block 3 of eastern Venezuela's Deltana platform, enough to warrant the country's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) train. The discovery was made at the offshore Macuira 1X exploration well in block 3, with a rate of 51 MMcf/d of natural gas. Chevron was first awarded the license for block 3 in August 2004, and while they announced a significant gas find on block 3 in June, this is the first time the company reported the size of the find.

Venezuela's energy and oil minister and state oil firm PDVSA president Rafael Ramírez said that the size of Chevron's Deltana find is closer to 7 tcf, but that even at 6 tcf it is much more than original reserve estimates. While Chevron currently operates block 3 exclusively, PDVSA has the option to take back a 35% stake of the block once it is declared commercial.

The well is located relatively close to and on trend with the Loran gas field in block 2, where Chevron drilled four successful exploration wells in 2004. Chevron operates block 2 with a 60% stake and fellow US company ConocoPhillips has the remaining 40%.

In addition, Chevron was awarded on Sept. 8 an exploration license for the Cardón III block off the coast of Falcón state in the western Gulf of Venezuela as part of the first stage of the government's Rafael Urdaneta tender. In an interview with BNamercias, Ali Moshiri, the president of Chevron Latin America Upstream, said he is eager to start exploration on Cardón III as soon as possible. Chevron will be required to invest $10mn in the first stage per the licensing agreement.

"Venezuela is very important for the world in terms of energy security. The Gulf of Venezuela has enough gas reserves [for commercial production], that's why it was so easy for us to decide about participating," Moshiri said.

While Chevron already has offices in Maracaibo, the capital of oil-rich Zulia state bordering with Falcón state, Moshiri commented that it could open another office with 20-30 people to deal with the Gulf of Venezuela exploration.

(09/14/05)

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