Invited to bid off Venezuela

August 24, 2002, 09:30 CEST

The Venezuelan government announced on Friday 23 August that Statoil has been invited to bid by the end of the year on blocks 3 and 4 in the Plataforma Deltana area off the eastern part of the country.

A successful bid will mean acquiring the operatorship of one block. This will involve exploration, subsequent field development, transport, liquefaction and marketing of gas/condensates. The blocks will be awarded in December of this year.

A successful bid will lead to an important partnership with Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

Statoil has signed a memorandum of understanding with El Paso of the USA and Norsk Hydro of Norway, under which these companies may form a consortium for Plataforma Deltana activity.

“This is a very promising area with the potential for major finds of gas and condensate,” says Statoil executive vice president Richard Hubbard.

“We aim to place a winning bid, and look forward to expanding our business in Venezuela and to increasing our cooperation with PDVSA. Our extensive experience in exploration, in the development of large complex projects, and in production, transport and marketing of both oil and gas will contribute to a world-class project in Plataforma Deltana and to significant value creation for PDVSA and Venezuela.”

The two blocks, out of a total of five delineated so far, cover a total area of approximately 2 000 square kilometres, with a water depth ranging from around 80 to 700 metres. Development will require an offshore production facility and a pipeline to the Paria peninsula in Sucre state, where plans call for a gas liquefaction plant to be built.

With its vast reserves of oil and gas, Venezuela is a natural focal point for Statoil’s business activities. The group has a 15 per cent share in the large Sincorheavy oil project, which successfully started production last year, and 27 per cent of the LL652 oil field in Lake Maracaibo.

The new venture in the Plataforma Deltana area could lead to the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) close to the North American market, and to business growth in line with Statoil’s strategy.

Statoil has LNG technology, project and marketing experience. Development has begun on the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea off northern Norway, which will deliver LNG to the USA in 2006.

The group has also acquired ownership in LNG carriers to strengthen its value chain position. In addition, Statoil is studying the possibility of commercialising the Nnwa gas field off Nigeria with a floating gas liquefaction plant.

Contact persons:

Kai Nielsen, public affairs manager: Tel. +47 970 41 332 (mobile)