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Gazprom after new projects in Venezuela

Gazprom discussed its possible involvement in new projects in Venezuela at negotiations in the South American country, Russia’s state-controlled natural gas giant announced on Friday.

A Gazprom delegation met with senior energy officials in Venezuela during a recent visit to Latin America’s largest oil and gas producer. “The parties discussed prospects of Gazprom’s participation in a project to certify reserves at deposits in the Orinoco Belt, and new offshore gas and infrastructure projects,” the company said in a news release.

In 2005, Gazprom won exploration licenses for two oil fields in Venezuela’s territorial waters. The company completed exploration efforts earlier this year and made a decision to drill test wells. The company is also involved in plans for a 9,000-meter pipeline to link Venezuela’s vast natural gas reserves to Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay via Brazil to Argentina.

Gazprom, which is 51% owned by the Russian government, controls around a quarter of global gas reserves, but is keen to diversify abroad. Venezuela’s outspoken socialist president, Hugo Chavez, who has led opposition to US influence in Latin America, put all oil fields under the control of state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela. Foreign corporations working in the country were offered to set up joint ventures with PdVSA by transferring controlling stakes to the company. (