Venezuela Announces Winners for North Paria LNG Project

Venezuela has selected Shell, Qatar Petroleum, Mitsubishi Corp. and PDVSA to develop its $2 billion offshore North Paria liquefied natural gas project. ExxonMobil will not take part because its proposal did not match all of the initial negotiating guidelines, a Ministry of Energy and Mines spokesman said.

Ministry officials will release further details of the North Paria project and another offshore gas project, the Deltana Platform, later this week, the spokesman said. Both sites are off northeastern Venezuela, close to Trinidad. Final details of the North Paria project have yet to be hammered out by the government and its foreign partners.

The three companies had negotiated with Venezuela to build a LNG export plant in Paria since the 1980s. The North Paria project foresees building a liquefaction train of 4.7 million tons per year to supply LNG to the U.S. East Coast. Venezuela hopes to have the first shipment ready in late 2006 or early 2007 as it works to match growing demand for natural gas in the United States.

The Venezuelan government has yet to announce its partners for the development of the Deltana platform, but British firm BG International is seen as the front-runner to participate in that project.