Repsol, ENI sign up to tap huge Venezuela gas find: company

23rd December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain's biggest oil firm Repsol and Italy's ENI signed a 1.5-billion-dollar deal on Friday to tap a huge new gas reserve in Venezuela, the Spanish company said.

The amount of natural gas in the Perla reserve off Venezuela's northwestern coast equals more than Spain's entire consumption over 13 years, Repsol said in a statement released in Madrid.

It is "Repsol's and Latin America's biggest gas find and one of the biggest in the world," said the Spanish firm, adding that investment in the first phase of the project will total 1.5 billion dollars (1.15 billion euros).

Repsol chairman Antonio Brufau along with ENI's chief executive Paolo Scaroni and Venezuela's oil minister Rafael Ramirez signed the deal in Caracas, the statement said.

The Spanish and Italian companies each hold a 32.5-percent stake in the project with Venezuela's state energy company PDVSA holding the remaining 35 percent. The contract lasts until 2036.

Perla holds 17 trillion cubic metres of gas (600 trillion cubic feet) -- equivalent to 3.0 billion barrels of oil, Repsol said -- more than double the estimate it gave in September when it announced the find.

It forecast that Perla would yield 300 million cubic feet of gas a day in the first few years of production, with the amount likely to quadruple later.

The gas will supply Venezuela's growing demand with a possibility for some also to be exported.

"The start of production of the big gas reserves of Perla marks a milestone in the history of our company in terms of deployment of resources and in the history of energy in Venezuela," the statement quoted Brufau as saying.

© 2011 AFP

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