January 7, 2019 / 6:41 PM / 5 months ago

France's Maurel & Prom to invest $400 million in Venezuela oil venture: PDVSA

FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's Oil Minister and President of the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA Manuel Quevedo talks to the media during a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela, August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello

CARACAS (Reuters) - France’s Maurel & Prom will invest $400 million to acquire a 40 percent stake in a Venezuela oilfield joint venture called Petroregional del Lago, state oil company PDVSA [PDVSA.UL] President Manuel Quevedo said on Monday.

Maurel & Prom said in a December statement it had agreed to pay 70 million euros ($80.5 million) to buy the stake from Royal Dutch Shell Plc and that it would invest 350 million euros ($402.5 million) in boosting output.

“It will participate together with PDVSA with $400 million in investment to increase production in Lake Maracaibo,” said Quevedo in a broadcast from Venezuela’s presidential palace in the company of Maurel & Prom President Michel Hochard.

“We have signed agreements to ensure the necessary investments at the start of 2019 ... to boost production to 70,000 barrels per day,” he said, without making any reference to Shell.

The field in 2018 produced around 15,500 barrels per day, Maurel and Prom said in December. Shell in an emailed statement confirmed the sale of its stake to Maurel and Prom.

The Lake Maracaibo area has been plagued by frequent theft of equipment and chronic power cuts as Venezuela remains mired in deep recession, hyperinflation and chronic shortages of food and medicine.

Reporting by Caracas newsroom; Editing by Richard Chang and Marguerita Choy

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