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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Venezuela Agrees to Russian Group Carabobo Venture

June 3,2009 (Bloomberg by Steven Bodzin) - Venezuela agreed to work with a group of five Russian oil companies including OAO Rosneft and OAO Lukoil to create an oil joint venture in areas of the country’s Orinoco Belt, according to an accord published today. The venture will work in the central and northern parts of the Carabobo 1 block, according to an agreement signed Nov. 26 and printed today in the Official Gazette, the formal record of Venezuelan government actions. The accord says Russian National Oil Consortium, or Consorcio Ruso, will be a partner with Venezuela. Consorcio Ruso was formed last year to work in Venezuelan oilfields and includes Rosneft, OAO Surgutneftegaz, OAO Gazprom, Lukoil, and TNK-BP. Venezuela is auctioning minority stakes in the same sections of the Carabobo 1 block. Nineteen companies, including Consorcio Ruso, paid $2 million each for data on three proposed projects, one of which would pump 400,000 barrels a day from the same areas described in the treaty. The accord doesn’t mention the auction. Other companies that may bid include Chevron Corp., BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc. An official in the communications office at Venezuela’s Oil and Energy Ministry declined to comment. Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev said Nov. 26 that the Russian group would gain access to Carabobo oil and declined to comment on whether the areas being discussed were also part of the bid round.

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