Petro-Canada has completed the acquisition of a 50% working interest in the La Ceiba block in western Venezuela. This block was part of Petro-Canada's acquisition of the Veba Oil & Gas assets, the bulk of which closed in May 2002. Veba's 30% interest in this asset was excluded at that time as pre- emptive rights were being considered. While the decision was pending, Veba Oil & Gas, with Petro-Canada's consent, acquired an additional 20% interest through the acquisition of Nippon Oil's share. The remaining 50% working interest is held by ExxonMobil, which is also the operator for the block.
Exploration activities in this block, straddling the eastern shores of Lake Maracaibo, started in 1996 and five wells have been drilled to date. Commercial development for the discovered hydrocarbon resources is being evaluated.
"La Ceiba provides an attractive investment opportunity and a presence in Venezuela, which has significant oil reserves and the world's largest deposit of heavy oil," said Petro-Canada President Norm McIntyre.
Only one Veba Oil & Gas property remains subject to an ongoing right of first refusal process. The Cerro Negro heavy oil assets in Venezuela are involved in an extended right of first refusal process, which is expected to be resolved in 2003.