CARACAS – President Nicolas Maduro awarded on the weekend to Russia’s Rosneft petroleum company licenses to exploit two natural gas fields located in northeastern Sucre state, the Venezuelan Petroleum Ministry announced on Sunday.
Maduro “authorized the Unassociated Gas Exploration and Exploitation License to the Russian state-run oil firm for the development of the Costa Afuera Patao and Mejillones fields located in northern Sucre state, for a period of 30 years for the export of Liquefied Natural Gas,” the ministry said in a statement.
On Saturday night, Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA oil giant announced that it signed energy and gas agreements with Rosneft, after which the president of the Russian firm, Igor Sechin, met with Maduro and his petroleum minister, Manuel Quevado.
Venezuela and Russia maintain an important relationship that began with the government of the late President Hugo Chavez, who governed from 1999-2013, and which Maduro has sought to strengthen.
“With the authorization to Russia’s main hydrocarbons company of this license for the exploration and exploitation of the Mejillones and Pataos fields comprising part of the Mariscal Sucre project, Venezuela continues forging strategic relationships in the country’s best interests,” the Petroleum Ministry statement added.
Venezuela has sought an ever closer relationship with Moscow and in August received from Rosneft $6 billion in advance payments for supplying Venezuelan petroleum to the Russian firm between now and 2019.