Ramirez Willing for 3rd Party NatGas Reserves Certification

Venezuela is willing to let an independent entity certify the size of its natural gas reserves, a condition for advancement of the US$25bn Gran Gasoducto del Sur natural gas pipeline that would connect Venezuela with Brazil and ultimately Argentina, energy and oil minister and state oil firm PDVSA president Rafael Ramirez told BNamericas on Monday.

Ramirez also confirmed that ministers from the scheme's four member countries and their respective technical teams are to meet in Caracas from June 5-7 to discuss the project.

"It is a very important meeting since finally Bolivia is integrated into this whole Gran Gasoducto del Sur issue. Ministers as well as technical teams will be present," Ramirez said, speaking on the sidelines of a press conference.

Regarding who can perform the certification, Ramirez said "a third party, an independent party. That is customary and doesn't trouble us."

The actual ministers' meeting will take place on June 7 and feature Argentina's planning minister Julio de Vido, Brazil's energy minister Silas Rondeau and Bolivia's hydrocarbons minister Andres Solis.

Venezuela, which has said it has 150 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in proven reserves, is currently producing some 6.5 billion cubic feet a day (Bf3/d) of gas and has announced a production goal of 11Bf3/d to be attained in five years' time. The Gran Gasoducto del Sur alone would transport 5Bf3/d of Venezuelan gas. Also on Monday, Ramirez announced additional E&P efforts to make this contribution possible.

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