The offshore natural gas exploration work will take at least one year. "Then we can declare commerciality and afterward we can come up with a production date," said the official with Norway's Statoil (NYSE: STO).
Gas was found in commercial amounts in October at the project's Cocuina 2-X well. Statoil would not commit on the find's potential reserves, but energy and oil minister Rafael Ramirez said earlier this month that Block 4 held 7Tf3 (198Bm3) of natural gas.
Most of the drilling platform personnel will be shipped to the mainland in time to vote in December 3 presidential elections.
Statoil has a 51% stake in the E&P project and France's Total (NYSE: TOT) the balance.
Under Venezuelan law, state oil firm PDVSA can acquire a stake once commerciality is declared.
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