Venezuela to Tender 20 Oil Production Licenses

The Venezuelan government plans to auction production licenses in 20 "low-productivity" oil fields and is discussing with oil companies how to organize the tender process, the president of Venezuela's hydrocarbons association (AVHI), Luis Xavier Grisanti, told BNamericas.

According to Grisanti, the government "will award 20 low-productivity oil fields to Venezuelan operators." But the possibility remains open for consortiums with foreign capital to be formed. Each of the fields produces 2,000-4,000 barrels a day (b/d) and "with an investment of US$3mn-$5mn, the production in each of these fields could be doubled," Grisanti said.

The mechanism through which the fields will be awarded has not been completely defined, but after companies buy bidding rules there will be a 90-day period for companies to submit bids, Grisanti said.

Energy and oil minister Rafael Ramírez recently described a very similar scenario, with "competitive bidding" for "integrated projects." However, the ministry has not yet announced details about the tender. The fields "are disseminated, they are all over the place - in the east [Monágas and Anzoátegui states] and west [Zulia state], but mostly they are in the east," Grisanti said.

Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA announced in January that it has formed committees with AVHI's 22 foreign oil companies to study possible joint oil, gas and power projects.

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