HOUSTON -- Russia's Gazprom has confirmed drilling has commenced for the first offshore natural gas well in Venezuelan waters.
Drilling began from theScorpion Vigilant platform in the presence of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and deputy chairman Igor Sechin of the Russian Federation Government.
Gazprom's operation is part of an agreement between Russia and Venezuela to cooperate on oil and gas projects.
National oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) retains the exclusive right to produce natural gas in the country.
Gazprom in August 2005 won the tender for Phase A of the Rafael Urdaneta project and was awarded licenses for natural gas exploration and development in the Urumaco I and II blocks in the Gulf of Venezuela.
As part of the licensing agreements for Urumaco I and Urumaco II, Gazprom set up two joint-stock companies UrdanetaGazprom I, SA and UrdanetaGazprom II, SA.
The potential natural gas reserves of Urumaco I and Urumaco II average 100 bcm, the company said.