Eni reports 'world-class' gas find off Venezuela

Italy’s Eni SPA said it has made a “world class” natural gas discovery after successfully drilling an exploration well in Perla field on the Cardon IV block in the Gulf of Venezuela.

Oct 16th, 2009

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 16 -- Italy’s Eni SPA said it has made a “world class” natural gas discovery after successfully drilling an exploration well in Perla field on the Cardon IV block in the Gulf of Venezuela.

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez was quick to turn the discovery into political capital, saying that the find could help boost Venezuela to fourth place in the world in proven gas reserves within 4 years.

“Venezuela is growing more established as a global energy power,” Chavez said on state television. Repsol YPF SA first announced the find a few weeks ago during a visit by Chavez to Spain, but today’s statement by Eni confirmed the magnitude of the find.

“The results of the well exceeded predrill expectations, making Perla the largest gas discovery in Venezuela and, potentially, one of the world’s largest natural gas discoveries in recent years,” Eni said.

It said these results will be evaluated “with the objective of accelerating the definition of a work program to further define the discovery and establishing possible development scenarios.”

Eni said, “The field has a reserve potential higher than the 6 tcf of gas previously estimated.”

The Perla 1X well, drilled 50 km offshore, encountered a 240-m hydrocarbon column. During the production test, it produced high quality gas with a capacity of 600,000 cu m/day and 500 b/d of condensate.

“Normalized gas production per well is expected to increase to over 1 million cu m/day,” Eni said.

Cardon IV Block is licensed and operated by a joint operating company Cardon IV SA, which is held equally by Eni and Repsol YPF. Venezuela’s state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA owns a 35% back-in right in the development phase and, if exercised, Eni and Repsol YPF will each hold a 32.5% interest in the project.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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