Total Farming Into Venezuelan Block

A farm-in agreement has been signed between Statoil and Total Oil and Gas Venezuela for block 4, part of the Plataforma Deltana area of the Venezuelan continental shelf, giving Total a 49 percent equity interest. Statoil will remain operator, with 51 percent.

The agreement is subject to the approval of the Venezuelan Ministry of Energy and Mines. Upon declaration of commerciality, state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PdVSA) has the right to back-in to an interest of up to 35 percent in the project.

"This agreement extends the good business relations between Statoil and Total," says Thore E Kristiansen, president of Statoil Venezuela. "We are very pleased to have them as a partner in the great challenge of exploring Plataforma Deltana."

Awarded to Statoil on February 27, 2003, block 4 covers 1,433 square kilometers of the Plataforma Deltana area off the east coast of the Latin American country, in water depths between 200 and 800 meters.

The minimum exploratory campaign for block 4 requires the drilling of three wells in four years. The first well, Ballena-1X, was spudded on January 1, 2005.

In addition to block 4, Statoil and Total are partners with PdVSA in the successful Sincor project in Venezuela that produces, upgrades and commercializes extra heavy crude from the Orinoco belt.