Venezuela's PDVSA, Spain's Repsol Agree to Expand Oil Joint Venture

Reuters, December 19, 2023

Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and Spain's Repsol on Monday signed an agreement amending the terms of their Venezuelan joint venture, aiming to ramp up its crude and gas output and accelerate debt repayment.

The agreement for Petroquiriquire, which includes the fields Quiriquire, Mene Grande and Barua-Motatan, was signed in Caracas by Venezuela's oil minister Pedro Tellechea and executives from Repsol.

"We are going to lift production. We have completed the planning of the agreements we are signing. They all have output forecasts and plans for operation expansions," Tellechea said.

PDVSA and Chevron last week received approval from the country's National Assembly to extend two separate joint ventures for 15 years.

The U.S. in October temporarily lifted oil sanctions on the South American country, allowing exports, imports and investments through April.

The Petroquiriquire joint venture, in which PDVSA has a 60% interest and Repsol the remaining 40%, operates in several areas of the country, including the Monagas North region. Its total production has been about 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude and 40 million cubic feet per day of gas so far this year, according to independent calculations.

Details of the changes to its operating agreement were not immediately disclosed by the companies.

Two sources with knowledge of the negotiations said the term changes were expected to allow Repsol a faster repayment of pending debt and dividends in Venezuela by exporting the oil Petroquiriquire is producing, which is expected to increase to some 40,000 bpd in two years.

PDVSA, Repsol and Italy's Eni earlier this year expanded an oil swap that is allowing Venezuelan crude exports to Europe and other destinations, and fuel imports for Venezuela.

In an arrangement similar to previous deals that PDVSA struck with Chevron and France's Maurel & Prom, Repsol is also set to have more governance and operational control of the three fields that are part of the joint venture.

Repsol and PDVSA continue in talks to negotiate the terms of other projects, particularly of those that could allow gas exports, one of the sources said.

"This agreement boosts the industry, the partnership and the relationship between Repsol and PDVSA, between Spain and Venezuela," said Francisco Gea from Repsol's Exploration division, during the signing event.

(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Additional reporting by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Julia Symmes Cobb and Rosalba O'Brien)

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