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Cablegate: Venezuela: Iran's Petropars Frustrated in Caracas

VZCZCXRO5089
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDIR RUEHKUK RUEHTRO
DE RUEHCV #1352 2931738
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 201738Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3857
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHHH/OPEC COLLECTIVE
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0403
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHEHAAA/WHITEHOUSE WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

C O N F I D E N T I A L CARACAS 001352

SIPDIS

ENERGY FOR ALOCKWOOD AND LEINSTEIN, DOE/EIA FOR MCLINE
HQ SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
TREASURY FOR MKACZMAREK
COMMERCE FOR 4332/MAC/WH/JLAO
NSC FOR DRESTREPO AND LROSSELLO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/19/2019
TAGS: EPET EINV ENRG ECON VE IR

SUBJECT: VENEZUELA: IRAN'S PETROPARS FRUSTRATED IN CARACAS

REF: CARACAS 1296

Classified By: Economic Counselor Darnall Steuart, for reasons
1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: Iran's PetroPars is reportedly frustrated by
its inability to move petroleum projects forward in
Venezuela, especially the development of Ayacucho block 7 in
the Faja heavy oil belt. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX told Petroleum
Attache (PetAtt) on October 15 that PetroPars is frustrated
with the lack of progress in developing a petroleum joint
venture (JV) in the Ayacucho block 7 of the Faja heavy oil
belt. (NOTE: In March 2008, PDVSA announced the results from
a PDVSA-PetroPars certification and quantification program in
Ayacucho 7, estimating 31.2 billion barrels of oil in place
with reserves of 6.24 billion barrels. END NOTE.) According
to conversations XXXXXXXXXXXX had with PetroPars' GM, the
Iranian oil company is operating with minimal staff.
PetroPars' GM told XXXXXXXXXXXX that he had repatriated to
Iran his entire technical staff (nine in total) due to a lack
of activity in Venezuela. Additionally, the GM himself now
spends three out of four weeks in Iran, residing at most, one
week per month in Caracas. PetroPars maintains three
Venezuelan permanent staff in Caracas ) an attorney, a
receptionist, and an office maid.

3. (C) Oil sector consultant XXXXXXXXXXXX, told PetAtt on October 18
that Iran's PetroPars petroleum company &has no future in Venezuela.8
Dagher claimed that PDVSA asked PetroPars to contribute $220 million
for a refinery project (NFI), but that PetroPars could not
raise that amount. Consequently, he said, PDVSA is not
moving forward with PetroPars to develop Ayacucho 7.

4. (C) According to the media, during President Chavez's
August 2009 visit to Tehran, the GOI and the GBRV signed two
complementary memoranda of understanding that appear to
constitute an even swap. The MOUs called for (1) Iran to
provide $760 million in energy investment in Venezuela to
develop the mature oil field Dobukubi and Ayacucho 7 block
and (2) Venezuela to provide $760 million to finance 10 per
cent of phase two of the Iranian South Pars field project. A
well-connected petroleum industry expert believes that $760
million might be sufficient to develop Dobukubi, but is not
enough for Ayacucho 7. XXXXXXXXXXXX commented
that Dobukubi "is a jewel" and that China's Sinopec oil company
has been trying to negotiate a deal to develop it.

5. (C) COMMENT: Iran might have expected that the
relationship between President Chavez and President
Ahmadinejad would produce tangible economic benefits in the
exploration and production of crude oil. Apparently, shutout
of Ayacucho 7 due to its inability to contribute $220 million
to a refinery project and with a $760 million price tag to
move forward in Dobukubi, it appears to be unlikely that
PetroPars will undertake any significant new activity in
Venezuela. END COMMENT.
DUDDY

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