Iran to invest in $4 billion Venezuela oil JV

Mumbai: Iran and Venezuela will jointly invest $4 billion in a project in the South American country''s heavy-crude-producing Orinoco Belt, Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA said on its website.

The joint investment would be made in the Ayacucho 7 block, which had an estimated 31 billion of the 1.3 trillion barrels of extra-heavy crude believed to exist in the 55,000-sq. km. Orinoco Belt, located in east-central Venezuela, PDVSA said...

>Venezuelan energy minister Rafael Ramirez, who is also the president of PDVSA, said in the statement that ''the work of certifying (the reserves) is being carried out and that oil production in the Ayacucho 7 block is expected to begin within two years.

>Venezuela and Iran, both large exporting countries whose governments condemn US ''imperialism'', have signed a series of 33 bilateral energy agreements. The joint investment plan is one of the accords signed in recent years.

>Included in these agreements is the creation of a bilateral and international company, ''the product of the synergy'' between PDVSA and Iranian state oil firm Petropars ''to undertake joint projects in third countries'' and build oil tankers, Ramirez said.

>The Venezuelan government on 1 May, assumed operational control over projects in the Orinoco Belt that produce 600,000 barrels a day, relegating the US firms Chevron, ExxonMobil, Britain''s BP, France''s Total and Norway''s Statoil to the status of minority partners of PDVSA.