By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Sept. 20 -- The Venezuelan Ministry of Energy and Mines has awarded licenses to local units of Chevron Corp. and OAO Gazprom for offshore exploration. The tracts are three of seven licenses offered in Venezuela's Stage A Rafael Urdaneta natural gas bid round in August (OGJ Online, Apr. 29, 2005).
ChevronTexaco Latin America Upstream won the Cardon III exploration block off western Venezuela with a bid of $5.6 million. The block lies in a region containing natural gas potential on trend north of the prolific Maracaibo producing region.
Gazprom unit Zarubezhneftegaz received the Urumaco I and Urumaco II blocks, bidding $15.2 million and $24.8 million respectively for these properties, according to BN Americas.
The two majors are committed to investments of $98 million during the first 4 years.
Two blocks, Moruy III and La Vela Sur, received no bids, and the interest shown in Urumaco III was considered insufficient.
The round, which attracted 27 bidders from 16 countries, was the first stage of a project to develop nonassociated gas. The 30,000 sq km prospect area northeast of Falcon state consists of 29 blocks, 18 of which are offshore in the Gulf of Venezuela and 11 in eastern Falcon state. These will be tendered in stages.
Stage B tenders were requested in mid-September for five more blocks, with bids to be received Nov. 9 and awarded Dec. 1. These are Urumaco III, Moruy II, Castillete Noreste II, Cardon II, and Cardon IV.
Licenses will be for a term of 30 years, and Petroleos de Venezuela will secure a 35% interest once commercial viability is established.