CABRUTICA, Venezuela, July 27 Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA and a consortium of Russian companies expect to present in September a joint-venture to develop a block in the Orinoco oil belt, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said on Monday.
"We'll be ready from September to start work (on the project)," said Ramirez, who accompanied Russia's deputy prime minister Igor Sechin on a visit to the Orinoco belt.
A formal contract to jointly develop the Junin 6 block with an estimated production capacity of 200,000 barrels per day would be signed before the end of the year, Ramirez said.
The Russian consortium includes Rosneft (ROSN.MM), Gazprom (GAZP.MM), Lukoil (LKOH.MM), TNK-BP and Surgutneftegaz. It also intends to bid for blocks in the Carabobo Project, for which the tender was delayed again on Monday [nN2790493].
Russia and Venezuela, who share their critical view of the United States, have signed a series of energy and military accords.
Various Russian companies are already present in the Orinoco belt, which Venezuela says boasts the largest hydrocarbon reserves in the world. But the extra-heavy crude oil from the Orinoco has to be processed before it can be refined. (Reporting by Marianna Parraga and Enrique Andres Pretel; Translating by Raymond Colitt; Editing by Christian Wiessner)