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

September 11, 2013

CARACAS, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and Spain's Repsol are interesting in acquiring the 11 percent stake in a heavy-crude project that will be left by 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 billion Petrocarabobo project. A source close to the project told Reuters the company has lost patience due to long delays, frequent changes in the fiscal framework and disagreements over terms and conditions.

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

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

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

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

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