Russian oil and gas giant Rosneft has secured licenses to develop two offshore gas fields in Venezuela, located in the Caribbean Sea.

As per the agreement with Venezuela, Rosneft will be allowed to export gas drawn from the Patao and Mejillones offshore fields for the next 30 years through its subsidiary, Grupo Rosneft, reported BBC.

Grupo Rosneft will be the operator of the two fields.

The deal was signed by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin’s visit to the South American country.

Venezuelan authorities will have to further give their nod to the deal before the Rosneft subsidiary can commence production.

According to Rosneft, the total reserves at the Patao and Mejillones gas fields are estimated to be approximately 180 billion cubic metres (bcm). The company expects to achieve peak annual production of 6.5bcm in the first 15 years.

The Russian company has also signed gas exploration and exploitation agreements with Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company.

Rosneft is already engaged in five joint projects in Venezuela in partnership with PDVSA. These include the Petromonagas, Petromiranda, Boquerón, Petroperijá and Petrovictoria joint ventures which were launched for exploiting hydrocarbons in the Orinoco Oil Belt (FPO) and in the Venezuelan state of Zulia.

The Petromiranda, and Petromonagas fields, put together are believed to have over 20.5 billion tonnes of oil.

PDVSA holds the majority stake of 60% in the joint ventures. The stakes of Rosneft in the five fields are 40% each in Petromonagas, Petroperija and Petrovictoria, 26.67% in Boqueron and 32% in Petromiranda.

In July last year, Rosneft expanded strategic cooperation with PDVSA to carry out feasibility study for the development and operation of Patao, Mejillones and Rio Caribe licenses.

Venezuela is touted to hold the world’s largest reserves of crude oil and is also claimed to be the first gas producer in Latin America.

Image: Signing of the agreements between PDVSA and Rosneft. Photo: courtesy of PDVSA.