Total To Boost Venezuelan Gas Investment By 50%

A group led by TotalFinaElf, Europe's third largest oil company, said that it increased by fifty percent the amount it plans to invest in developing two Venezuelan natural gas fields.

Total and its partners, Spain's Repsol YPF and two Venezuela engineering companies Inelectra and Otepi, will invest an initial $120 million to produce a hundred million cubic feet of natural gas a day by midway through 2003. Total previously forecast spending $80 million on the first phase to produce about seventy million cubic feet a day.

“This is more ambitious,” said Jean Michel Gires, the president of Total in Venezuela. “We've considerably increased the project to raise production levels.”

Venezuela is counting on private companies to help it develop its 147 trillion cubic feet of estimated natural gas reserves, which are the eighth-largest in the world.

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