Venezuela Prepares to Bid Three Oil Blocks in Orinoco Belt

CARACAS, June 6, 2008 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Venezuela will bid three oil fields located in the heavy-crude-rich Orinoco belt, state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PdVSA, said in an official press release.

The schedule for the bidding rounds, which will be open to private-sector companies, will be announced soon, according to the press statement that cited Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez.

"Soon there will be an announcement of the schedule to offer private, national and international companies three blocks in the Orinoco heavy crude belt, specifically Carabobo I, Carabobo II and Carabobo III," said the statement.

Ramirez said that investment for each field will be around $8 billion and the main objective will the development of heavy-crude upgraders.

Petrobras (PBR), the Brazilian energy company, has previously said that it could take a 10% stake in the Carabobo I field after considering earlier a possible 40% stake.

Under Venezuelan law PdVSA must hold a majority stake in all oil production ventures.

CARACAS, June 6, 2008 (Dow Jones Newswires)