Enap, PDVSA Discuss Joint Oil Projects

Chile's state oil company Enap is in talks with its Venezuelan counterpart PDVSA to develop joint oil exploration and production projects in Venezuela, Enap CEO Enrique Dávila told reporters on Wednesday.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez had approached Chile's government to discuss the investments, an Enap spokesperson told BNamericas, without detailing any of the possible projects.

PDVSA president and energy and oil minister Rafael Ramírez and Chile's foreign minister Ignacio Walker signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on energy cooperation in April this year.

The objective of the accord was to establish the framework by which Venezuela and Chile can carry out energy projects "of common interest and based on mutual benefits, equality and reciprocity."

Enap's international unit Sipetrol already has operations in Ecuador, Argentina and Egypt and is looking to expand in South America, the spokesperson said.

The company recently signed an agreement with its Ecuadorian counterpart Petroecuador that includes developing joint exploration and production projects, exchanging know-how and personnel, and selling crude and oil products.

Enap plans to invest US$430mn in Ecuador's oil sector and could buy crude from Petroecuador in exchange for oil products made in Chile.

Chile has turned to Ecuador for crude supplies in the past year to offset the negative impact of Argentine natural gas import restrictions on electric power generation.

Chile reportedly aims to import US$128mn worth of crude a year under an agreement signed by President Ricardo Lagos and former Ecuadorian President Lucio Gutiérrez in 2004 that eliminated import taxes on Ecuadorian crude.

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