bp pauses gas-field talks with Venezuela as license expires

HOUSTON (Reuters)—Oil major bp has paused discussions with Venezuela on the development of a gas project on the maritime border with Trinidad and Tobago following the expiration of a U.S. license to Venezuela in April, a company spokesperson said on Wednesday.

This year, bp conducted negotiations with Venezuela and Trinidad to develop the 1-Tft3 Manakin-Cocuina field that is shared by both countries.

The British energy company plans to resume talks with Venezuela once it "can legally do so," the spokesperson said. "With the expiration of OFAC’s general license #44 in April 2024, bp has paused all discussions on the Manakin-Cocuina development," the company said.

bp wants to increase its natural gas production in Trinidad, where output has fallen 45% in the last five years, to 1.2 Bft3d from 2.2 Bft3d.

It owns a 45% stake in the Atlantic LNG gas-processing plant which has a capacity to produce 15 metric MMtpy of the superchilled gas. But the facility has been forced to mothball one of its trains and reduce output due to lower natural gas production.

Trinidad Energy Minister Stuart Young did not immediately comment on the decision.

The Manakin-Cocuina fields were unitized in 2015 but talks on their development were stalled upon imposition of U.S. sanctions in 2019 against Venezuela.

In March, Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA said on social media it was considering issuing a license for exploring and developing non-associated gas on its side of the shared field.


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