President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro says his country has reached an agreement with Russia, which will see investment of $14 billion in the oil and gas sector over the next few years.
The agreement was reached between the Venezuelan state oil firm, PDVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela) and the Russian oil giant, Rosneft, after talks in the South American country’s capital, Caracas, between Maduro, the president of PDVSA, Eulogio Del Pino, and the president of Rosneft, Igor Sechin.
“We had a great meeting and agreed on investment of over $14 billion,” said Maduro in a television address, following a meeting with Sechin. He added that the funds would go towards doubling Venezuela’s oil production.
The meeting between Rosneft and PDVSA: Oriented to increase crude production in the Hugo Chavez Frias field.
According to the Venezuelan president, the investment will be used to develop the so-called Orinoco Belt, which runs through the northeast and into the Caribbean Sea. The belt holds some of the largest crude oil reserves in the world. The two countries will also look into developing the Latin American nation’s gas sphere.
PDVSA had set an ambitious target to try and double the country’s oil production to 6 million barrels a day by 2019, which is 8 million tons a year. The figure in 2014 was just 1.6 million tons per year. Four million of these barrels are expected to come from the Orinoco Belt. However, Maduro did not provide any details of how the investment plan would be put into practice.
The company also mentioned that Rosneft had proposed an increase of its stake in its subsidiary, Petromonagas. The Russian company currently owns 16.7 percent, but offered to increase this to 40 percent, which is the maximum allowed for a foreign partner in a joint oil venture in Venezuela.
During a visit to Moscow in January, during which Maduro met with President Vladimir Putin, the Venezuelan head of state mentioned that the two countries would increase the number of joint exploration projects.
“We have agreed to step up the investment and participation of Russian companies and their share of joint ventures in the Orinoco oil belt and other projects. This will expand investments in stocks and oil production,” Maduro said on January 15. He also added that the two nations had agreed to share technology.
The Orinoco oil and gas basin is has more than 250 oil and 19 gas fields. The world’s largest deposits of heavy oil, the Junin and Carabobo are located in the west of the area. The oilfields in the Orinoco oil basin and offshore gives Venezuela the world’s largest-known reserves.
Rosneft has already been involved with PDVSA in projects in the Orinoco Belt after a deal was signed in September 2012 to develop the Carabobo 2 in the southern part of the belt. The Russian state-controlled oil giant agreed to invest $16 billion in the project.
Meanwhile, in November 2014, Rosneft and PDVSA signed a new contract for the supply of oil and gas, with the documents stating that the Russian company would receive 1.6 million tons of oil and 9 million tons of oil products within a five-year period.
Rosneft is currently take part in five oil extracting projects in Venezuela.