Minister: New NatGas E&P Licenses to be Awarded

New licenses to explore and produce natural gas in Venezuelan oilfields that third parties operate for state oil company PDVSA will be awarded soon, newspaper El Universal quoted company president Rafael Ramírez as saying.

The licenses will cover areas in four of these 32 oilfields, and are part of the migration to PDVSA-controlled joint ventures from operating agreements, said Ramirez, who is also the country's energy and oil minister.

The latest figure shows these areas contain an additional 11Tf3 compared to original estimates, he added. The country's current natural gas production is 7Bf3/d.

The official said that production in the 32 fields has declined to an average of 484,500b/d after peaking at around 500,000b/d last year.

Re-injecting natural gas to boost production, especially in mature fields such as the 32 cited above, is one of PDVSA's preferred "secondary recovery" methods.

In Venezuela, 70% of all natural gas production is devoted to re-injection, according to ministry figures.

Ramirez has said that to meet several oil production, thermal generation and refining goals, Venezuela needs to increase short-term production by at least 1.5Bf3/d.

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