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Spain's Repsol receives U.S. license for Venezuela oil, gas projects

HOUSTON (Reuters)—Spain's Repsol has received a license from the U.S. Treasury Department authorizing the energy company to continue and expand its oil and gas business in Venezuela, sources close to the decision said on Thursday.

Repsol has several joint ventures with Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA to produce crude and gas in the country. The two firms recently agreed to add two large onshore fields to one of the joint projects.

A U.S. official said this week that Washington is reviewing up to 50 individual license requests to do energy businesses in Venezuela. They follow the expiration in April of a broad authorization that allowed the South American nation to export oil to its chosen market and receive investment as an exemption to the U.S. sanction regime.

Repsol, PDVSA and the White House National Security Council did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Treasury declined to comment.

Repsol and PDVSA aim to double oil output from the Petroquiriquire joint venture, where they are currently producing some 20,000 bpd of crude and 40 MMft3d of gas.

The expansion, approved by Venezuela's National Assembly, adds the promising La Ceiba and Tomoporo oilfields to the joint venture. The two areas have more than 5 Bbbl of oil in place.

The U.S. State Department previously acknowledged European companies with operations in Venezuela, including Repsol and Italy's Eni, the Spanish company, could recover pending debt and joint venture dividends in Venezuela by taking and refining Venezuelan oil.

(Reporting by Marianna Parraga in Houston. Additional reporting by Pietro Lombardi in Milan and Daphne Psaledakis and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Editing by Gary McWilliams)


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