bp in talks to develop Trinidad-Venezuela natural gas field amidst looming sanctions

Fabiola Zerpa and Laura Hurst, Bloomberg March 15, 2024

(Bloomberg) – bp Plc is in early-stage talks to develop a natural gas field that stretches from Trinidad and Tobago to Venezuela, the company said Friday.

Fishermen in front of Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) oil rigs on lake Maracaibo in Cabimas, Zulia state, Venezuela, on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023.

Confirmation from the oil major follows a post on X by state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA, saying Trinidad’s energy minister and its national gas company’s vice president, as well as bp’s local head and Venezuela’s oil minister, had met to discuss developing the Manakin and Cocuina fields as one project.

bp operates the Manakin field, which lies in Trinidad’s waters

The London-based major is weighing business with Venezuela as the U.S. renews threats of sanctions on its oil industry. Major oil companies are betting that the Biden administration will refrain from imposing the stiffest penalties related to energy ahead of his reelection campaign, even as President Nicolás Maduro backslides on democratic concessions.

Venezuela would grant a joint or separate exploration, development and exporting licenses to bp and CNP, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The delegations met on Thursday to review technical aspects of the Manakin and Cocuina fields, another person said.

Trinidad, one of South America’s largest natural gas exporters, is looking for new deals as gas reserves start to dwindle in the coming years. Maduro, on the other hand, is looking for new sources of revenue while also seeking reelection this year.

Venezuela and Trinidad have held a joint development agreement of the fields for a decade. Further work was halted in 2019 due to U.S. sanctions.

bp was a key player in Venezuela until 2010, when it sold its three oil fields and an upgrader to a Rosneft affiliate.

Connect with World Oil
Connect with World Oil, the upstream industry's most trusted source of forecast data, industry trends, and insights into operational and technological advances.