Oil Min: Shell, ExxonMobil Out Of Venezuela Gas Project

CARACAS, Aug 19, 2005 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex)

Venezuela's oil minister said Friday that Shell (RDSB.LN) and ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM) will no longer participate in the Mariscal Sucre natural gas project.

Venezuela will begin to develop the project's initial two fields on its own, Rafael Ramirez told reporters.

Venezuela had been in talks with the two companies for the Mariscal Sucre project but had reached no agreement. The minister said the government will use its own resources to launch the project.

As part of the investment plans of state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PVZ.YY), the government also intends to overhaul refineries across the country and build three new ones.

Ramirez said that project will cost $10 billion and will take until 2012 to complete.

Venezuela is the world's fifth-largest oil-exporting country and a top crude supplier to the U.S.

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