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Venezuela calls on companies to develop long-stalled offshore gas project

Venezuela is urging companies engaged in a long-stalled offshore gas project to start fresh research and operations, reported Reuters, citing sources.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wants to revive the project with the help of state oil company PDVSA, and private players such as BP, Chevron and Shell.

The offshore area in question is called Plataforma Deltana. It is divided into five blocks and extends into the waters of Trinidad and Tobago.

The gas discoveries were never fully explored because of a lack of funding, an incomplete effort to share the resources with Trinidad and Tobago, and unclear investment regulations.

Trinidad’s share of the largest reservoir, known as Manatee, was approved for development by Shell by both nations in 2019.

Maduro recently retracted that decision, saying in September that the fields ought to be developed collaboratively.

In 2010, two of Venezuela’s five blocks were declared commercial by Chevron.

Chevron was the only company that completed exploration in Plataforma Deltana and certified 7.3 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas, but it never started the production process.

Equinor and TotalEnergies returned one block to Venezuela following a non-commercial discovery.

In recent years, Russia’s Rosneft explored one of the blocks, but did not finish its work there.

Of the five blocks, one was never awarded.

“They are talking about working at blocks 2 and 4, which are the most advanced ones,” one of the sources was quoted by the publication as saying.

These two blocks stretch to the Manatee project by Shell and the Manakin shallow water block by BP on the Trinidadian side.

Both the Manatee and Manakin projects are currently in the development and production design stages.

BP and the Government of Trinidad intend to conclude talks with Venezuela to co-produce gas at Manakin once the Manatee talks, which have already begun, are finished.

Chevron has been in discussions with Venezuela regarding its licence.

Melbana Energy, an Australian company that operates in Cuba, was also contacted by Venezuela.

The talks with Melbana could lead to a seismic contract for the less-explored blocks, the sources said.

Requests for comment were not answered by PDVSA, Melbana, the energy ministry of Trinidad or Venezuela’s oil ministry.

BP told the publication that despite its inability to move work forward there, it still sees the Manakin field as a critical component of its long-term region growth plan.

Shell declined to comment and Chevron did not provide a comment.

Plataforma Deltana is also the Venezuelan project that is closest to disputed waters with Guyana.

Source: Offshore Technology