Chevron 6Tf3 Deltana Gas find Enough for LNG Train

US oil company Chevron (NYSE: CVX) has found about six trillion cubic feet (Tf3) of natural gas in block 3 of eastern Venezuela's Deltana platform, enough to warrant the country's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) train, Ali Moshiri, the president of Chevron Latin America Upstream, told BNamericas.

Venezuela's energy and oil minister and state oil firm PDVSA president Rafael Ramírez said that the size of Chevron's Deltana find is closer to 7Tf3, but that even at 6Tf3 it is much more than original reserve estimates.

Chevron announced in June a "significant" natural gas find on block 3, one of five offshore blocks in Plataforma Deltana, but this is the first time the company has announced the size of the find.

The discovery was made at the offshore Macuira 1X exploration well in block 3. The well tested at a rate of 51 million cubic feet a day of natural gas.

The well is located relatively close to and on trend with the Loran gas field in block 2, where Chevron drilled four successful exploration wells in 2004.

Chevron operates block 3 with a 100% stake. PDVSA has an option to back into the block up to 35% upon declaration of commerciality. Chevron was awarded the license for block 3 in August 2004.

Chevron also operates block 2 with a 60% stake and fellow US company ConocoPhillips has the remaining 40%


Chevron was also awarded on September 8 an exploration license for the Cardón III block off the coast of Falcón state in the western Gulf of Venezuela as part of the first stage of the government's Rafael Urdaneta tender. Moshiri said he is eager to start exploration on Cardón III as soon as possible. Under the license conditions, Chevron is required to invest US$10mn in the first stage.

"Venezuela is very important for the world in terms of energy security. The Gulf of Venezuela has enough gas reserves [for commercial production], that's why it was so easy for us to decide about participating," Moshiri said.

Chevron already has offices in Maracaibo, the capital of oil-rich Zulia state bordering with Falcón state, but it could open another office with 20-30 people to deal with the Gulf of Venezuela exploration, Moshiri said.

Venezuela's tax authority Seniat is currently investigating Chevron and about 20 other foreign companies operating in the country for alleged tax evasion. Seniat even seized computers containing financial information from Chevron's Zulia office in August, but Moshiri would not comment on the investigation when asked by BNamericas.

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