PDVSA gets $1 billion Gazprombank funding for Venezuela venture

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA PDVSA.UL said on Tuesday that it had signed a deal for Russia's Gazprombank GZPRI.RTS to provide $1 billion in funding for a joint venture project in the OPEC nation.

The joint venture, known as Petrozamora, is located in western Venezuela’s Zulia state and includes two of the country’s largest and oldest fields: Lagunillas and Bachaquero.

PDVSA said in a statement that the venture would use the new funding to develop a business plan for the two fields.

Petrozamora pumped an average of 65,100 barrels per day in the first quarter, PDVSA said, but did not give the eventual target output.

PDVSA announced the funding agreement during a visit to Russia by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez. Moscow has given high-level support to its energy companies’ efforts in the South American country.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who is also chief executive officer of top Russian crude producer Rosneft ROSN.MM, has been a regular visitor to Caracas to discuss energy deals and arms sales.

Sechin said in May that Rosneft would grant PDVSA a $1.5 billion loan to develop a major joint venture in Venezuela’s Orinoco extra heavy crude belt. The Petrovictoria venture aims to start production of 120,000 bpd in 2016.

Rosneft is also a partner in Petromiranda, one of the most advanced Orinoco belt projects, where early production began last year and output is seen rising to 45,000 bpd.

Rosneft also has a stake in a Venezuelan heavy oil upgrader and is working with PDVSA to develop the country’s offshore gas reserves.

Reporting by Daniel Wallis and Marianna Parraga; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn