PDVSA Gas Signs Consulting Deal with Gazprom

Russian oil and gas company Gazprom and Venezuela's PDVSA Gas have signed a consulting agreement which will include help with the planned Gran Gasoducto del Sur pipeline, PDVSA Gas president Felix Rodriguez told BNamericas.

"We are using Gazprom for technical support. This company will help us out with their expertise," Rodriguez said moments after signing the deal. PDVSA Gas is paying US$15 million for the consulting work.

Rodriguez stressed Gazprom is one of the world's leading exporters of natural gas through pipelines.

The agreement, which complements previous agreements signed between President Hugo Chavez and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in 2005, is wide-ranging, Rodriguez said.

Specifically, the deal entails analyzing Venezuela's gas system "so we can absorb Gazprom's experience, not only in domestic management but internationally as well," the official said.

PDVSA Gas, a subsidiary of state oil firm PDVSA, produces roughly 90% of the country's average production of 7Bf3/d (198Mm3/d). Chavez aims to modify the 1999 constitution in order to nationalize the country's natural gas industry.

Venezuela estimates the Gran Gasoducto project would cover 8,000-15,000km, starting in Venezuela, crossing Brazil and ending in Argentina.

Gazprom has been performing offshore gas E&P since 2005 in Venezuela.

The signing marked Rodriguez's first official function since being appointed president late last year.

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