Venezuela in First Shale Gas Exploration Project

22.05.2014 -

Venezuela plans to begin its first shale gas exploration campaign in western Lake Maracaibo as part of a joint venture with Brazil's state-run Petrobras.

"We've approved the first explorations for shale gas," energy minister Rafael Ramirez said on May 21. Ramirez is also the head of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.

The Petrowayu joint venture will run the project.

PDVSA will have a 60% stake in the exploration company, while Petrobras will have 36% and U.S.-based Williams 4%

The minister did not say when exploration would start, nor how much PDVSA and its partners would likely spend.

PDVSA also has run initial tests for shale gas at La Guajira, in the hope of discovering significant reserves of unconventional resources.

The OPEC nation has vast reserves of conventional gas, but several offshore gas projects with foreign partners are still waiting to start output.