Three Offshore Licenses to be Handed Over in January

Venezuela's energy and oil ministry will formally hand over three offshore exploration and production licenses in January, an official from one of the companies that won a license told BNamericas.

"What we have heard from the government is they will make the formal handover in January," said a company representative, who declined to be identified. The statement essentially confirms a report that appeared in Friday's edition of El Universal.

However, the company official declined to discuss another claim in the article, that the delay in handing over the licenses - originally planned for November 30 - was caused by a diplomatic ruckus between Venezuela and Colombia triggered by one of the blocks being to close to an area disputed by the two countries. The article goes on to say that the boundaries of the block in question (Castillete Noreste 2) could have been redrawn to avoid conflict.

An official said that a new date for the signing has not been fixed.

On November 15 the ministry announced that the Castillete Noreste 2 block went to Vinccler Oil & Gas, the Venezuelan unit of Canadian oil company PetroFalcon (TSX: PFC) for US$7.38mn. The Moruy 2 block went to a consortium made up of Brazilian federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) and Japanese energy firm Teikoku for US$19.5mn. Italy's Eni and Spain's Repsol YPF (NYSE: REP) paid US$34.4mn for Cardón 4 block.

Vinccler Oil & Gas put out a press release on December 2 informing investors about the delay. A PetroFalcon official, who asked not to be identified, said the company has not been given a new date for the actual handing over of the license.

Although the three blocks awarded are said to be rich in natural gas, crude is also thought to be present in significant amounts, representatives from companies involved and Venezuelan government officials have told BNamericas.

About Business News Americas: Business News Americas is a multilingual news and business information service that covers the most important original stories in 11 different business sectors throughout Latin America everyday. Visit BNamericas to access our real-time news reports, 7-year archive, Fact File company database, and latest research reports.

Click here for a Free two week trial to our Latin America Oil & Gas information service.

Company: Petrobras more info
Operates 34 Offshore Rigs
Manages 10 Offshore Rigs
 - Exxon, Petrobras Form Alliance To Develop Oil, Gas Projects (Dec 14)
 - Natural Gas In Petrobras Pipelines Up About 23% In 2017 (Dec 05)
 - Petrobras CEO Says To Discuss Refining Partnership With CNPC CEO (Nov 15)
Company: ENI more info
Operates 11 Offshore Rigs
 - BSEE: Italy's Eni Begins Drilling Oil Well In Alaska's Beaufort Sea (Dec 27)
 - Eni 'Mission Impossible' Points to Seismic Shift for Big Oil (Dec 22)
 - Sanction-Proof Oil Rig Beats US Policy From Cuba to Russia (Dec 19)
Company: Repsol more info
 - Exxon Mobil Bets on Brazil, Buys 10 Oil Blocks in Auction (Sep 28)
 - Repsol Says Drilling Suspended On Vietnam Oil Block Disputed By China (Aug 02)
 - China Urges Halt To Oil Drilling In Disputed South China Sea (Jul 25)
Company: Vinccler Oil and Gas more info
 - ANH Pre-qualifies Companies for Ronda Caribe (Aug 28)
 - PetroCumarebo Eyes 2,500b/d, 566,000m3/d by Year-End (May 24)
 - Vinccler in Talks to Secure La Vela License (May 24)
Company: PetroFalcon more info
 - PetroFalcon Denied Approval for Anadarko Venezuela Acquisition (Oct 09)
 - PetroFalcon Gets Closer to Lundin Purchase (Oct 18)
 - PetroFalcon Begins Natural Gas Deliveries from La Vela (Aug 29)
Company: Teikoku Oil more info
 - Petrobras: $535 Million In Ecuador Investments On Hold (Apr 08)
 - Teikoku Acquires 35% Stake in Block 31 Offshore Suriname (Aug 29)
 - Venezuela to Resume Offshore E&P Gas Licensing (Jan 25)