Pedro Tellicia, Venezuelan Oil Minister and head of the state-run Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), said that Venezuela intends to issue a license next month to the Italian company Eni and the Spanish Repsol company to export natural gas, according to Al-Sharq website. bloomberg.
Venezuela has already signed an agreement with the two European energy giants on May 5 that allows the export of natural gas liquids – or condensate – to other markets.
This was the first step towards enabling Venezuela to become a natural gas exporter after focusing on oil for more than 100 years.
“In the next few days we will finish negotiating the LNG export license. (Eni) and (Repsol) are interested in expanding the gas field in Venezuela. They waited seven years for the NGL export license we just granted.”
The minister stated that the date for the start of exports “will depend on the speed of the investment that the two companies will make.”
The two European companies want to resume work on the Kardon 4 project, which they jointly run, “at its maximum capacity”, which amounts to 1.3 billion cubic feet, according to Telecia. The project is currently pumping 580 million cubic feet of natural gas to meet domestic and industrial demand in Venezuela.
Telicia, a military officer and engineer, was appointed Minister of Venezuela’s oil industry last March, after a comprehensive anti-corruption investigation into missing revenues estimated at billions and defective contracts ousted his predecessor, Tarek El Aissami, a close ally of President Nicolas Maduro.
Telecia previously headed a petrochemical company belonging to Petroleos de Venezuela, and became president of the parent company in early January, replacing Asdrubal Chávez, cousin of the late President Hugo Chávez.
On the other hand, Telicia said that the Ministry of Oil is working closely with officials of the Chinese company “China National Petroleum” (CNPC) to resume work on a line of credit between the two sides, which would remove the middlemen and allow them to ship crude directly.
China National Petroleum is a major producer in Venezuela’s Orinoco Belt, and output from its joint venture Sinofensa fell to 90,000 barrels per day in early April, according to Petroleos de Venezuela data.
Telecia’s rise comes as Maduro desperately seeks to boost his country’s oil revenues, with presidential elections next year in which the incumbent is likely to run for a third six-year term.
The oil industry represents about 95% of Venezuela’s foreign revenues, but it is a victim of massive mismanagement, low oil prices, corruption, and harsh penalties that prevent any US company from dealing with Petroleos de Venezuela without exemptions.