PDVSA Keeps Participation in Delta Project to 30%

PDVSA's participation in the Delta Platform natural gas project should remain around 30%, state news agency Venpres reported Friday, citing the director of the nation's Energy and Mines Ministry. "I don't see PDVSA participating with more than 30% to 35% ... the idea is to leave a substantial part to the private sector," Luis Vierma was quoted as saying.

Vierma was also quoted as saying around 15 foreign energy companies have expressed interest in the $5 billion project, and added that incentives will be offered to keep the investment attractive. The initial exploratory phase of the Delta Platform project will cost around $ 375 million for the next two and a half years. Total investment is seen reaching $5 billion to $7 billion over the next six years, including a liquefied natural gas plant on the Paria Peninsula.

The Delta Platform project, which is close to the Trinidadian border, consists of a block of 27,000 square kilometers with estimated proven gas reserves of 20 trillion to 30 trillion cubic feet. Venezuela aims to increase its natural gas business in an attempt to lessen its dependence on crude oil and refined products.