Venezuela has signed an agreement with Shell and Mitsubishi to develop the $2.7 billion Mariscal Sucre liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. Venezuela hopes this deal will make it a net gas exporter by 2007. Venezuela's Energy and Mines Minister Rafael Ramirez said the agreement was a milestone in plans to turn the South American country, already the world's No. 5 oil exporter, into a major gas exporter.
"From 2007 onward, Venezuela is going to be a net exporter of gas," Ramirez said at a ceremony in Caracas attended by foreign oil company executives.
He told reporters later the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, which controls the world's third largest natural gas reserves, was also negotiating with PDVSA for a stake in Mariscal Sucre. Negotiations were advanced, he added, without giving details.