State-owned Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. and Italy's ENI will create a joint venture to produce condensate reserves from an offshore well, Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said Wednesday.
"For the development of the Perla 3x project ... we're going to form a joint venture between PDVSA and ENI to develop the condensate reserves that are associated with that gas," Ramirez told the media.
The Perla 3x well is part of the Cardon IV block, which is located in shallow waters off the coast of the northern state of Falcon and considered one of largest gas reserves in the Western Hemisphere.
In addition to ENI, the Venezuelan government also has awarded licenses to develop Cardon IV to Spain's Repsol and Russia's Gazprom.
PDVSA, ENI and Repsol operate jointly in the Perla megafield, which contains more than 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in place and is expected to eventually yield some 1.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day.
Ramirez said the goal is to feed natural gas from Perla 3x into Venezuela's gas grid by December 2014, the energy minister said.
"It's a commitment that our work teams have assumed," he said.
The minister, who also is president of PDVSA, said the Italian energy group has invested roughly $25 billion in Venezuela, making it a "strategic company" for oil and gas production in the South American country.
ENI CEO Paolo Scaroni said that by 2019 "Venezuela will be one of the most important countries in the world for ENI."
"Just as ENI is strategic for Venezuela. Venezuela also is strategic for us," he said.
PDVSA and ENI also are jointly developing oil reserves in the onshore Orinoco Belt of northeastern Venezuela, the world's largest oil reserve with an estimated 297 billion barrels of crude, according to official figures. EFE