Statoil, Total Find 7Tf3 in Deltana

Norway's state-controlled oil company Statoil (NYSE: STO) and its French partner Total (NYSE: TOT) have found about 7Tf3 of natural gas in block 4 of the Plataforma Deltana, an offshore area southeast of Trinidad, Venezuelan government officials said.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez confirmed the findings during a televised address on Tuesday night. Statoil had found a "gigantic gas deposit," he said. Energy and oil minister Rafael Ramirez told BNamericas last week the European companies had found some 7Tf3 in its Deltana property.

Ramirez, who is also president of state oil firm PDVSA, stressed that block 4 of Deltana was previously thought to have only about 0.3Tf3 of natural gas.

"This is extraordinary," he said.

The deposit was found through the drilling of a second exploratory well at the property, Cocuina 2-X, Ramirez said. Ballenas 1-X, the first exploratory well drilled by the partners, was temporarily abandoned in 2005 because of safety concerns, the official added.

Venezuela has 152Tf3 in proven natural gas reserves, gas regulator Enagas president Jorge Luis Sanchez told BNamericas in late September.

The reserves rank the country eighth in natural gas worldwide.

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