Alexander Ananenkov and Rafael Ranires business talks

Alexander Ananenkov, acting Chairman, Gazprom Management Committee, held business talks with Rafael Ramirez, Energy and Mining Minister, Venezuela, on 4 August 2003, in Moscow. Rafael Ramirez is in Moscow at the invitation of the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation.

During the negotiations the parties discussed a number of possible cooperation development directions between Gazprom and Venezuela’s Energy and Mining Ministry, including natural gas reserves deposits exploration and development, gas industry infrastructure development, natural gas utilization and treatment, personnel training. The parties reached an agreement to set up joint expert groups to study cooperation projects feasibility, and to draft a Memorandum of Mutual Understanding between Gazprom and Venezuela’s PDVSA state oil company.

Gazprom’s Department of Long-Term Development, Science and Ecology, and Department of Foreign Relations management participated in the meeting.


Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the Western hemisphere (77 billion barrels), and, along with Mexico, is one of the biggest oil producers in Latin America. Around 20% of total Venezuelan oil production comes from the Gulf of Maracaibo oil fields. The biggest oil fields in the country include Lagunillas, Bachaquero, El Furrial, Centro, Mulata, Lama.

There is a modern hydrocarbon production infrastructure in Venezuela. Natural gas production is one of the promising sectors in Venezuela’s petroleum industry. Venezuela’s government has emphasized gas production and treatment industry development recently.

Venezuela produces more than 60 billion cubic meters of gas annually. Currently more than half of total production is used in the country’s oil industry, and 30% is supplied to the domestic market. The biggest problem of Venezuela’s natural gas production industry is insufficient investments that result from the limitations of the current legislature and the absence of a developed gas pipeline system that could connect promising gas fields to the gas purchasing regions. There are two separate gas transmission systems in Venezuela today (the eastern and western trunk pipelines totaling 3,000 miles), and it is planned to connect the two systems into a high capacity trunk pipeline. This would allow a creation of an efficient domestic gas supply structure, as well as export sales channel for supplies to neighboring countries.

Venezuela is to produce 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually by 2010. The government set up a special Commission on gas to implement this program. The Commission is conducting a study and a comparative analysis of current legislature that regulate gas industry in different countries.

According to PDVSA top management, the country’s natural gas fields are not explored to full extent. At the same time, the company’s experts’ estimates show that Venezuela’s proved gas reserves stand at 4.2 trillion cubic meters, around one quarter of which is inland, and three quarters are offshore. Therefore Venezuela is among the top ten countries in the world in terms of natural gas reserves.

In 2001, PDVSA announced the start of license tenders for exploration and development of new gas fields.

Information Directorate, OAO Gazprom

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