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Ecuador, Venezuela Plan Joint Oil & Gas Exploration

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QUITO - State-run company Petroecuador plans to establish in the coming months an alliance with its Venezuelan counterpart, Petroleos de Venezuela, or PdVSA, to explore for oil and gas in Venezuela, Petroecuador general manager Marco Calvopina said Wednesday.

PdVSA has been invited to do the same in Ecuador.

Calvopina said in an interview Petroecuador will have a 14% stake in Venezuela's Dobokubi oil field, in the heavy-crude rich Orinoco Belt.

"We want to internationalize our operations. Dobokubi can reach a production of 50,000 barrels per day in about two years and we have agreed to work in that field," Calvopina said.

Dobokubi is a Venezuelan oil field, operated by a joint venture between PdVSA and Iran's Petropars Oil and Gas Co.

Petroecuador's investment in the field hasn't yet been defined nor have the fields that PDVSA could explore in Ecuador.

Calvopina said Venezuela has also offered to Petroecuador a stake in a block for gas exploration, but he declined to provide further details.

"We hope this project materializes this year," he said.

Currently, Petroecuador and PdVSA operate together the Sacha oil field in Ecuador, through the Rio Napo joint venture, in which Petroecuador has 70% of shares and the Venezuelan company the remainder.

Petroecuador's general manager added that next month an Iranian delegation interested in the $12 billion Refineria del Pacifico project will visit Ecuador. The Refineria del Pacifico is a joint venture between Ecuador and Venezuela's state oil companies. The project owners are seeks investors to raise financing.

"We were in Iran and we presented some projects, including Refineria del Pacifico and they showed interest in pipelines and storage tanks," Calvopina said.

Officials from PDVSA and Iran couldn't be reached for comments.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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