The FINANCIAL — According to RIA Novosti, Venezuela's Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) will sign a "strategic" cooperation agreement with Russian oil and gas companies to create a join energy consortium, the Venezuelan energy minister said on November 24.
The bilateral cooperation agreement is expected to be signed during a two-day visit to Venezuela by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on November 26, said Rafael Ramirez, who also heads state-owned PDVSA.
Gazprom will head the Russian half of the consortium, which will include state-run oil giant Rosneft, British-Russian joint oil venture TNK-BP, Surgutneftegas, a Siberian oil and gas producer, and the country's largest independent crude producer LUKoil, Stanislav Tsygankov, head of the Russian energy giant's international relations department, said earlier.
Earlier Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said that once the Russian consortium has been established, a joint Russian-Venezuelan oil and gas conglomerate led by PDVSA, who will hold a controlling stake, is expected to be set up. The joint consortium, which is due to be established by next spring, could become an oil and gas leader in Latin America, Shmatko said.
He also said investment in the project is expected to top "tens of billions of dollars."
Venezuela is one of the world's largest oil producing states, with about 87 billion barrels of proven conventional oil reserves. In addition, it has huge non-conventional oil deposits (heavy oil). Most of these deposits are located in the Orinoco oil belt.