Venezuela, Repsol eye project stake left by Petronas -oil minister

Reuters

CARACAS, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Venezuelan state oil companyPDVSA and Spain's Repsol are interesting in acquiringthe 11 percent stake in a heavy-crude project that will be leftby the exit of Malaysia's Petronas from the deal's consortium,Venezuela's oil minister said on Wednesday.

Petronas this week confirmed it was leaving the $20 billionPetrocarabobo project. A source close to the project toldReuters the company has lost patience due to long delays,frequent changes in the fiscal framework and disagreements overterms and conditions.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters that PDVSA'sboard of directors would hold a meeting to discuss the issue. Hedid not say when the meeting would be held.

The consortium developing Petrocarabobo is 60 percent ownedby PDVSA and includes investment from Repsol, India's ONGC and two smaller Indian firms, Oil India andIndian Oil Corp.

Sources close to ONGC and Oil India said on Wednesday theywere unlikely to buy the stake.

Ramirez said Petronas would lose its share of the bonus paidby the consortium in 2010 to win access to the reserves. Thecompany's exit must be approved by the oil ministry.

Petrocarabobo calls for the construction of a 200,000 barrelper day upgrader to convert heavy crude into light crude oil,part of Venezuela's plan to boost output and tap into the vastOrinoco heavy oil belt. (Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Jim Loney)

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