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Russia's Gazprom Licensed To Extract Venezuelan Gas

9 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's Gazprom company has won licenses to extract gas in a natural-gas project off western Venezuela.

Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said Gazprom paid $40 million for two blocks of the offshore gas project.

At the tender yesterday, the U.S. Chevron corporation paid $5.6 million for a third block of the project, which has a total of 29 blocks spanning some 30,000 square kilometers.

The area's reserves have yet to be proven but they are estimated at some 720 million cubic metres.

Venezuela is considered the eighth richest country in natural-gas reserves in the world.