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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Gazprom lines up rig in Venezuela

06 May 2008 - Upstream onLine by Tom Darin Liskey - Russian explorer Gazprom will use the newbuild jack-up rig Offshore Vigilant to probe a potentially prolific offshore project in Venezuela’s shallow water sector, sources at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston said. The rig – capable of operating in water depths of up to 350 feet – is being built at the Keppel AmFels shipyard in Brownsville, Texas, for Scorpion Offshore. Details about the length and day rate for the independent-leg, extended reach cantilever rig were not available. Scorpion officials declined to confirm that Gazprom will use the rig, saying only that it will be delivered to Venezuela. The proposed contract will last at least 11 months and generate some $72 million in revenues. The rig is scheduled for completion this year and should be delivered to Venezuela in the third quarter. Russia’s Gazprom wants a rig to explore the Urumaco 1 and Urumaco 2 blocks in the Gulf of Venezuela. PDVSA sources have said the Urumaco permits are expected to unlock significantly more than 1 trillion cubic feet of gas, based on seismic data. Meanwhile, Chevron is understood to be close to signing an agreement with Dallas-based Ensco for a jack-up to drill a well in Venezuela. Sources said the rig will probably come from the US Gulf of Mexico. The rig will be used to kick off exploration drilling in 2009 at the shallow-water Cardon 3 block. Moreover, the US supermajor has been leading an effort with other international oil companies including Spain’s Repsol YPF and Brazil’s Petrobras to share the rig. The Gazprom and Chevron acreage form part of the so-called Rafael Urdaneta project, which covers 30,000 square kilometres and, according to official reports, holds as much as 26 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

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