PDVSA to Launch Delta Caribe After Nationalization

Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA will launch the Delta Caribe offshore bidding round after it takes control of several extra-heavy crude oil projects in the Orinoco and Amacuro Delta, company president Rafael Ramirez told BNamericas.

"We will resume that process [Delta Caribe] once we have completed this," Ramirez said in reference to the nationalization process. Delta Caribe "could be" revived before year-end.

Venezuela's government aims to finish nationalization by May 1 in time to have the new PDVSA-dominated joint ventures ready to present to the pro-government national assembly by June 26.

Delta Caribe, originally due to be awarded November 28, includes three blocks near La Blanquilla island and a fourth between the Orinoco river delta and Trinidad & Tobago.

The government delayed bidding in light of the December 2006 presidential elections. The energy and oil ministry invited 34 companies to the auction, of which 13 paid for rights to participate.

The 13 are the following: Anglo-Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-B); Brazil's Petrobras (NYSE: PBR); Japan's Teikoku and Mitsubishi; France's Total (NYSE: TOT); US major Chevron (NYSE: CVX); Russia's Lukoil; Hocol; Italy's ENI (NYSE: E); India's ONGC; Spain's Repsol YPF (NYSE: REP); Norway's Statoil (NYSE: STO); and Vinccler, the Venezuelan unit of Canada's PetroFalcon (TSX: PFC).

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