Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Lukoil waits on Orinoco deal
18 September 2007 - Upstream OnLine - Russia's Lukoil will not sign a contract with Venezuela until exploration of the Junin-3 Block in the country’s Orinoco heavy crude belt is complete, Lukoil vice president Andrei Kuzyayev said today. Lukoil and Venezuela's state-controlled oil company PDVSA signed an initial agreement two years ago for a joint venture in the Orinoco belt, which produces 520,000 barrels per day at the four Junin blocks. Lukoil has been exploring the area since then, and last month the company's president Vagit Alekperov said a production deal would be finalised by the end of this year. But Kuzyayev, speaking at the Russian-Venezuelan forum in Moscow along with Venezuelan vice president Jorge Rodriguez Gomez, said the date of any agreement was entirely unknown. "I'm not going to talk about 2007 because we don't have any news on the date of the contract. We're busy with exploring and evaluating it, and then we'll have an idea," Reuters quoted Kuzyayev as saying. Under a new Venezuelan law that limits foreign investment, Venezuela would receive 60% of the project with Lukoil taking the 40% balance.