As a result, offers are not due the week ending October 27 as originally planned, he said, adding planners will announce the new schedule in coming days.
Some of the 13 companies that have bought bidding rules for the round requested the extension, said Ramirez, who also serves as president of state oil company PDVSA.
The blocks are in eastern Venezuela near the Plataforma Deltana region that PDVSA is exploring. Other companies exploring Plataforma Deltana include US oil major Chevron (NYSE: CVX) and France's Total (NYSE:TOT).
"We have started getting word of exploration results in block 4 of Plataforma Deltana, which are extraordinary," he said. "The results confirm what we have always though and it's in our interest to attract the companies."
The ministry invited 34 companies to participate in the round.
The following 13 companies bought bidding rules: Anglo-Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-B); Brazil's Petrobras (NYSE: PBR); Japan's Teikoku and Mitsubishi; Total; Chevron; Russia's Lukoil; Anglo-French independent Hocol; Italy's ENI (NYSE: E); India's ONGC; Spain's Repsol YPF (NYSE: REP); Norway's Statoil (NYSE: STA); and Vinccler, the Venezuelan unit of Canada's PetroFalcon (TSX: PFC).
Of the four areas, the three near La Blanquilla island have the most seismic data available: 19,287km of 2D seismic and 1,800 sq km of 3D data. Punta Pescador has 2,251km of 2D and 620 sq km of 3D data. Eleven exploratory wells have been drilled in the four areas.
La Blanquilla, close to Margarita island, includes block A, B and C. Punta Pescador is in the Orinoco river delta.
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