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Venezuela Plans To Issue LNG Export Licenses To European Majors

Venezuela is planning to issue in June export licenses to European majors Eni and Repsol to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the country, Venezuela’s Oil Minister Pedro Tellechea has told Bloomberg in an interview.

The LNG export licenses would allow Venezuela to start shipments of natural gas, having spent decades focusing only on its huge reserves of heavy crude oil.   

“Eni and Repsol are interested in growing in the area of ??gas in Venezuela. They had been waiting for seven years for the export permit for natural gas liquids, which we have just granted,” Tellechea told Bloomberg, adding that the country would complete the negotiations for the LNG export license in the coming days.

Earlier this month, Venezuela issued a license to Eni and Repsol to allow them to export natural gas liquids (NGLs), or condensates, Tellechea, who is also head of the state-owned oil firm PDVSA, said.  

Eni and Repsol are joint venture partners in the Cardon IV offshore natural gas field, which currently produces condensates for feedstock at refiners operated by PDVSA in Venezuela. The NLGs license would allow the two European energy majors to export part of the condensates to Europe via a condensate recovery plant.

According to oil minister Tellechea, Repsol and Eni are seeking to resume production at Cardon IV “at its maximum capacity.”

At the same time, Venezuela is looking to boost its revenues from its most important export commodity, crude oil. After several arrests in a corruption probe earlier this year, Nicolas Maduro is looking to increase Venezuela’s oil revenues, which are pretty much the only hard-currency revenues the country is receiving.

In March, Tareck El Aissami, Venezuela’s oil minister for three years, resigned amid a corruption probe into PDVSA, and Maduro appointed PDVSA’s Tellechea to serve as the new oil minister. 

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Chevron, the only U.S. company authorized by the U.S. to pump and export oil from Venezuela, is hoping to increase its shipments of Venezuelan oil, but Venezuela hasn’t been unable to bear the cost of dredging a key oil export inlet.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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