Chevron to Focus on Gas Projects in 2006, 2007

Deltana Platform - Venezuela
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US oil major Chevron (NYSE: CVX) will devote most of its time in Venezuela this year and next to developing natural gas properties, Latin America Upstream manager Ali Moshiri told BNamericas.

The focus on gas comes after the company achieved its output targets for its three crude oil projects in the South American country.

At the offshore Plataforma Deltana in eastern Venezuela, "we are hoping to declare commerciality sometime in 2007... we have finished our exploration program there. We drilled five wells and we discovered 6-7 trillion cubic feet. Now we have sufficient gas we are evaluating the construction of an LNG [liquefied natural gas] train," Moshiri said.

The LNG train, which would be the first ever in Venezuela, would be built in partnership with state company PDVSA Gas, the official added.

"We are in the process of designing a development plan... always with PDVSA Gas as a partner."

In 2005, Chevron received an E&P license for another natural gas block, this time in western Venezuela, as part of the Rafael Urdaneta project.

"We are going to do all of our geological and geophysical work in 2006 and if we identify a drillable prospect, we will probably conduct drilling in 2007," Moshiri said. As for accruing seismic data, this will "possibly be done this year, if not in early 2007."

Chevron is producing some 332,000 barrels a day of crude of varying quality in its three Venezuelan fields.

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