Venezuela, Ecuador Exploring for Gas in Gulf of Guayaquil

CARACAS (Dow Jones), Oct. 8, 2009

Venezuela and Ecuador's state energy firms said Wednesday that exploration is under way at a test well in Ecuador's Gulf of Guayaquil, with expectations of finding up to 1.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The two firms, Petroecuador and Petroleos de Venezuela, or PdVSA, announced their plans a year ago to drill for gas in the gulf's 300,000-hectare block 4.

Wednesday's announcement that early tests have already been taken at the well was made during a bilateral meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa. Chavez said it is the first-ever energy well to be drilled by PdVSA in a foreign country.

A PdVSA worker, speaking from the drill site, told Chavez during a live-television interview that the early tests have been positive, but he said it's too soon to provide any specific figures.

Petroecuador and Chilean state oil and gas company Empresa Nacional del Petroleo SA, or ENAP, are exploring for gas in another area in the gulf, block 40.

Ecuador officials have said that if hydrocarbons are found in the blocks, the state will sign service-provider contracts with the companies.  

Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.