Venezuela’s Chavez ambitious for gas powered generation

Venezuela is preparing to pay over the odds to tap one of Latin America's biggest gas fields wanting to boost power generation and even help revive stagnant oil production.

Venezuela is in the top 10 nations in terms of gas reserves, but has yet to begin any commercial production. Instead, it imports supplies from neighboring Colombia.

However Italy's ENI and Spain's Repsol have signed a deal with state oil company PDVSA to develop the Perla field, where the Europeans have certified more than 15 trillion cubic feet (tcf).

Chavez is bullish about the potential for Venezuela from gas powered generation: "We could even begin to approach Russia, No. 1 one in the global ranking, once we've certified the gas in the Orinoco oil belt and continue discovering the gas offshore," he said.

"This is very important and it has only been possible to achieve this through independence."

His government says it will eventually certify as much as 400 tcf in reserves, up from 195 tcf now. That would propel Venezuela to fourth in the world behind Russia, Iran and Qatar, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

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