Block 4 Exploration Still Requires At Least a Year

Block 4 operators in Venezuela's Orinoco river delta must drill two more wells and perform well tests before commerciality can be declared, an official with one of the companies involved in the project told BNamericas.

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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