PDVSA Gas Could Partner in Exploring New Onshore Blocks

The PDVSA Gas unit of Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA will promote natural gas exploration in several new onshore blocks in central and eastern Venezuela this year either by itself or in conjunction with private partners, PDVSA Gas deputy president Felix Rodriguez told BNamericas.

To reduce a natural gas deficit hampering both crude oil production and power generation capacity, Venezuela is exploring several avenues concurrently: granting new licenses for offshore E&P to private companies such as the Rafael Urdaneta project; tapping deposits created through gas re-injection in San Tome; accepting partners for areas it previously planned to work on by itself such as block 1 of Plataforma Deltana; and considering offering new onshore blocks in Guarico, Cojedes and Anzoategui states.

"These are zones to be exploited for gas, not for deflating," the official said.

Deflating means tapping gas deposits created by re-injection. The reference was to San Tome, a nearby area where oil deposits injected with gas for over 40 years will be tapped to reuse that gas in power generation and even for re-injection.

"The domestic market needs gas and the strategy is to seek more inland," Rodriguez said.

It has not yet been decided if PDVSA Gas will tackle these new blocks itself or with private partners, said Rodriguez, who was speaking on the sidelines of the 17th International Gas Convention in Caracas.

Venezuelan law allows private companies to have a stake of up to 60% in gas projects whereas only a maximum of 49% is permitted in oil projects.

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