Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile Plan to Explore Ayacucho Oil Field

QUITO (Dow Jones Newswires), August 27, 2008

The state-run oil companies of Ecuador, Venezuela and Chile plan to establish a joint venture to explore oil in the Ayacucho 1 oil field, in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt, Ecuador Mines and Oil Minister Galo Chiriboga said Wednesday.

In a press release, Chiriboga said this will be the first stage in helping make Petroecuador a more international company.

On Friday in Caracas, Petroecuador and Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PdVSA, will sign preliminary accords, the statement said.

Chiriboga said that, according Venezuelan laws, Venezuela will hold the majority of shares in the venture created by Petroecuador, Petroleos de Venezuela SA and Chile's National Petroleum Company, Enap.

Chiriboga also said Ecuador plans to establish another joint venture with Enap to explore natural gas in Chile.

Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.