Oh man this is some juicy Wikileakage. Regular commenter and blogpal Kepler has the story:
the Norwegians were not very happy at the way US Chevron and Spanish Repsol decided to bid for the development of the Carabobo field….the Norwegians were hoping for an international boycot of the tender…
Kepler’s post is worth reading for those of us less versed in the Viking tongue. For those of you with patience or rare skill in Norwegian, here’s the original story in Aftenposten.
Just to give a bit of background on this story: Statoil, the state-controlled oil company from Norway, is a major investor in Venezuela. The company is in a joint venture with Total, of France, and Venezuela’s state company, PDVSA, to drill, pump, refine and sell oil from the Orinoco belt. The project was supposed to have an expansion area. But when it came time for the Venezuela oil ministry to offer the two companies the Junin 10 block, they kept changing the rules of the game until at the last minute the government put the two companies in competition with one another, with the idea that whoever submitted the better plan would win the block. In the end, both plans were rejected and Venezuela took back rights to Junin 10.
At the same time Statoil, one of the world’s leading offshore natural gas companies, was invited to bid on the Mariscal Sucre gas project. Again, the rules were changed so many times that there was no way to submit a well prepared bid. As it turned out, nobody bid for that project, infuriating the oil ministry.
This leak, if it is accurate, indicates that Statoil hoped for a similar result in the Carabobo tender, the biggest oilfield auction in the country’s history and perhaps in world history.
But the Orinoco Belt is different. Because Venezuela plans to build at least five ginormous projects in that region. And there aren’t enough construction companies, service companies or trained staff to build and operate so many projects. So whoever gets going first is going to be able to build a project more or less on time and then staff it up. The others are going to have to wait. This is why Petrovietnam, for example, is hustling to get going — note that they just got some financing lined up. (That link is also thanks to Kepler.)
Anyway go give Kepler’s story a look. Interesting stuff.