PDVSA Could Seek Plataforma Deltana Partner for Block 1

Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA could allow another company to buy into block 1 of its Plataforma Deltana natural gas E&P project, PDVSA Gas vice president Felix Rodriguez told BNamericas on the sidelines of the 17th International Gas Convention in Caracas on Thursday.

When the Deltana blocks were awarded, block 1 was reserved for PDVSA but things could change.

"In block 1 it would be us participating with a percentage plus maybe the help of a minority partner to complements us," Rodriguez said. Offshore experience would "of course" be a plus, the official added.

Rodriguez has been tasked with boosting Venezuela's natural gas output and allowing a third party into block 1 is one way of doing it.

"A new business scheme will come but in accordance with what the energy and oil ministry tells us," he said.

None of the four Deltana blocks where exploration is proceeding has yet declared commerciality. US major Chevron (NYSE: CVX), which is exploring in two of those blocks, has said it has located 7 trillion cubic feet of proven reserves. Norway's Statoil (NYSE: STA) interrupted its program there last year and has yet to resume work.

Venezuela is currently producing some 6.3-6.5 billion cubic feet of gas a day (Bf3/d) but needs 1-1.4 Bf3/d more to prop up sagging crude production and increase much-needed thermal generation.

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