PDVSA, Petrobras to Undertake NatGas E&P in Mariscal Sucre

Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) and Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA will perform joint offshore natural gas E&P in eastern Venezuela's Mariscal Sucre, PDVSA president Rafael Ramirez told reporters.

"Petrobras president [Jose Gabrielli] has confirmed to us Petrobras' participation as PDVSA's partner in the Mariscal Sucre project," Ramirez said, adding output could start in 2008.

The partners will perform E&P on all four of Sucre's blocks: Rio Caribe, Mejillones, Patao and Dragon, Jorge Luis Sanchez, president of Venezuela's natural gas regulator Enagas, said at a separate event.

"The partnership with Petrobras will deal with E&P, while PDVSA Gas will handle the downstream," Sanchez said, adding it is too early to say how much the partners will invest in their E&P program.

Production would in part feed the CIGMA petrochemicals complex on the shores of nearby Sucre state. CIGMA construction will start in August.

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