Trinidad, Venezuela agree to share profits from Dragon gasfield

CARACAS, September 22, 2023 – The governments of Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago have struck a profit-sharing agreement that will allow them to jointly exploit the Dragon gasfield, with Trinidad exporting natural gas from the PDVSA project.

The deal was struck Thursday evening and announced by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who called it “historic” and “exemplary” of nations joining together in mutually beneficial agreements.

The Dragon field, which sits in Venezuela’s territorial waters, is believed to contain 4.2 tcf (118.94 bcm) of natural gas, and the project will be able to feed an approximated 150 mcf (4.25 mcm) per day to Trinidad and Tobago at full production.

In November 2022, Chevron was authorised by the US government to resume oil production from Venezuela for the first time since sanctions were imposed in 2019.

Then, in January 2023, Trinidad and Tobago received a licence from the USA to develop the Dragon field,  with the possibility of Trinidad providing humanitarian relief in exchange for the oil, since sanctions prohibit Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) from receiving payments in cash. In February 2023, Minister Stuart Young led a delegation to Caracas to begin negotiations on the licence, which would last for two years initially.

“The signing of this agreement to introduce technology and pipelines to begin producing gas in Venezuelan seas is an enormous message of peace and will generate resources and wealth to invest in our people,” said Maduro.

The deal was signed at Maduro’s residence in Caracas, with Trinidadian Minister of Energy and Energy Industries Stuart Young and Venezuelan Minister of Oil Pedro Tellechea present.

Earlier this year, Minister Young told The Energy Year about anticipated benefits from co-developing the Dragon project.

“There are significant hydrocarbons reserves in Venezuelan territory, mere kilometres away from the existing infrastructure in Trinidad,” he said.

“A proposed pipeline would run just 17 kilometres from the Dragon field in Venezuela to existing state-of-the-art downstream infrastructure in Trinidad and Tobago. Access to that gas would allow us to increase the production of LNG and ammonia.”