(Bloomberg) — Venezuela is in contact with energy companies to exploit the Plataforma Deltana gas field near Trinidad and Guyana as it steps up pressure on the latter over a territorial dispute, Reuters reported.
The project aims to restart work at the offshore site for the first time in more than 10 years, according to five unidentified people cited by Reuters. The area has estimated reserves of at least 7 trillion cubic feet.
Plataforma Deltana is the closest energy project that Venezuela has to waters in dispute with Guyana. President Nicolas Maduro is calling for a large chunk of land claimed by neighboring Guyana to become part of Venezuela, threatening to shut down oil producers who do business there.
READ: Chevron Faces New Venezuela Risk as Maduro Threatens Guyana
Maduro has questioned a previous accord signed in 2019 that allowed Shell Plc to operate the part of the Deltana field contained in Trinidad’s national waters, known as Manatee. Output was forecast to start in 2028. Maduro now wants the entire field to be operated together with state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela and is sounding out oil companies, such as BP Plc and Chevron Corp, Reuters said.
Chevron is the only company to have completed exploration work at the site, declaring two of the five blocks as commercially viable back in 2010, but it never started production. Rosneft Oil Co. looked at another block, but didn’t complete the work, while TotalEnergies SE and Equinor ASA returned a fourth zone to Venezuela after failing to find sufficient gas to justify further investment. Another block was never adjudicated.
The talks with oil companies now aim to revive work at blocks 2 and 4, which extend to Shell’s Manatee project and to BP’s Manakin shallow water block, both of which are currently under development, according to Reuters.
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