Venezuela to Open Orinoco Licensing Deal Next Week


Orinoco Heavy Oil Belt
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VIENNA(Dow Jones Newswires), October 24, 2008

Venezuela will announce a licensing round for several oil blocks in the country's Orinoco region this coming week, the Venezuelan oil minister said Friday

"This coming week we will open up the licensing round with the interested companies," Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said as he left the headquarters of the the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries headquarters. He was referring to three oil blocks in the Carabobo field, located in the oil-rich Orinoco basin.

The minister said a number of oil companies have shown interest, but he would not say which ones.

Ramirez and President Hugo Chavez have insisted that they will carry on plans to diversify the country's partners to include companies from Russia and Asia as well as nations in Latin America.

Chavez has also vowed to sell crude to other clients aside from the U.S., it's major crude customer.

Venezuelan officials met with other OPEC members in Vienna Friday, where it was decided to cut OPEC production 1.5 million barrels of crude a day.  

Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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