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Total farming into Venezuelan block

January 17, 2005, 09:40 CET

A farm-in agreement has been signed between Statoil and Total Oil and Gas Venezuela for block 4, part of the Plataforma Deltana area of the Venezuelan continental shelf, giving Total a 49 per cent equity interest. Statoil will remain operator, with 51 per cent.

The agreement is subject to the approval of the Venezuelan Ministry of Energy and Mines. Upon declaration of commerciality, state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PdVSA) has the right to back-in to an interest of up to 35 per cent in the project.

"This agreement extends the good business relations between Statoil and Total," says Thore E Kristiansen, president of Statoil Venezuela. "We are very pleased to have them as a partner in the great challenge of exploring Plataforma Deltana."

Awarded to Statoil on 27 February 2003, block 4 covers 1,433 square kilometres of the Plataforma Deltana area off the east coast of the Latin American country, in water depths between 200 and 800 metres.

The minimum exploratory campaign for block 4 requires the drilling of three wells in four years. The first well, Ballena-1X, was spudded on 1 January 2005.

In addition to block 4, Statoil and Total are partners with PdVSA in the successful Sincor project in Venezuela that produces, upgrades and commercialises extra heavy crude from the Orinoco belt.