1. Venezuela awards 2 blocks in massive oil region: India, Malaysia, Chevron (US), Japan, Spain
Venezuela assigned the rights to exploit the Carabobo 1 block to a consortium that included Repsol, India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp., Oil India Ltd. and Indian Oil Corp. and Malaysia’s Petronas, while another block, Carabobo 3, was awarded to a consortium led by Chevron and that also included Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. and Inpex Corp. and Venezuela’s Suelopetrol
…In both blocks, the winning consortium will have a 40 percent stake and the remaining 60 percent stake will be held by Venezuelan state oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela. According to official Venezuelan figures, the blocks have the potential to produce a combined total of at least 800,000 barrels of crude per day by 2016 and will require $30 billion in investment.
“This is something historic,” President Hugo Chavez said of the auction. “It is extremely important” and is the product of “a transparent bidding process” that began on Oct. 30, 2008, with the participation of 19 foreign companies….He also stressed the importance of foreign investment in developing the potential of that region, which the U.S. Geological Survey recently said is the world’s largest petroleum reserve with more than 500 billion barels of recoverable crude.
2. India moving faster to tie up mineral supplies
Thus the Indian government is reportedly moving to fast track deals to secure future supplies for its ever-growing industrial base. According to a report in today’s Hindustan Times The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has decided that the country’s state-owned corporations need to be supported in aggressively pursuing the acquisition of strategic mineral resources through a dedicated fund - and it has set a 30-day deadline for such plans to be in place. According to Hindustan Times, an unnamed senior government official told it “The PMO has asked the Finance Ministry and the Planning Commission to work out the size and structure of the dedicated fund in 30 days.”
…The significance of the Indian move should not be underestimated. Indian growth is currently matching that of China and with the two Asian potential megapowers with enormous populations taking ever increasing volumes of raw materials from the global supply, the pressure on resources can only increase dramatically.
According to the report, India is also beginning to try and use diplomatic pressures to help secure supplies with the External Affairs Ministry tasked with a strategy to help acquire them, particularly in Africa which is seen as key area of potential supply with resources frequently directly controlled by government.
3. Brazil finds more oil, shallow water, low hanging fruit
RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian state-controlled energy giant Petrobras said Thursday that it has found oil at a well located in shallow waters of the Campos Basin. The find was made in waters just 200 meters (655 feet) deep and is near massive deposits in deeper areas of Campos, which is located off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state and is the basin where 80 percent of Brazil’s oil is extracted. Petrobras said the 4-PM-53 well contains an estimated 25 million barrels of recoverable heavy oil and is just 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from the Pampo field, which is currently being developed.
…Petrobras, Brazil’s largest corporation and one of the world’s fastest-growing oil companies, produces an average of 2.5 million barrels of oil and natural gas equivalent in Brazil and abroad. An integrated energy company and a global leader in deepwater oil exploration and production, Petrobras operates in 27 countries in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. Shares of the company trade on the Sao Paulo, New York, Madrid and Buenos Aires stock exchanges, but the Brazilian government retains control through a golden share. EFE
4. Cuba, Russia confirm “strategic” nature of their relationship
HAVANA – The Russian and Cuban foreign minister emphasized on Thursday the “enormous potential” and the “strategic” nature of relations between their two countries. Sergei Lavrov arrived in Cuba for a three-day visit and presided at a meeting with Bruno Rodriguez, after which they signed three accords.
…Lavrov said that the relationship had transformed itself into a “truly strategic association” and confirmed to the Cuban government Moscow’s “unchanging” stance against the economic embargo the United States has maintained against the communist-ruled island since 1962.
…Besides the foreign minister, the Russian delegation to the fair includes Culture Minister Alexandr Avdeev and more than 200 publishers, writers, artists, officials, translators and journalists. Lavrov’s trip to Havana continues the frequent visits made by top Russian government officials to Cuba in the last two years, including those by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who has traveled to the island on at least five occasions. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev traveled to Cuba in 2008 and Cuba’s president, Gen. Raul Castro, returned the visit in 2009. EFE