UK’s BP and Trinidad and Tobago’s state energy company NGC have received a two-year licence from the US Treasury Department for the development of a gas project with Venezuela, reported Reuters.  

The licence is for the Cocuina-Manakin gas fields straddling the maritime border between Venezuela and Trinidad.  

According to Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister Stuart Young, the fields are estimated to contain about one trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas reserves.  

The US licence follows Washington’s decision last month not to renew a broad licence that permitted Venezuela to export its oil and receive investments freely.  

However, the US has since provided targeted authorisations to companies for specific ventures in the sanctioned South American nation. 

The Cocuina-Manakin project, part of the larger Plataforma Deltana initiative on Venezuela’s side, had been on hold as bp awaited this crucial US authorisation.  

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In 2023, a similar licence was issued by the US to Shell and NGC for the Dragon gas field in Venezuela, which is now set to export gas to Trinidad until at least October 2025.  

“It is the same terms as Dragon, where we can pay in US currency,” stated Young, referring to the terms of payment for the gas, which would be an exception to the US sanctions on Venezuela. 

bp’s spokesperson recently indicated that negotiations for Cocuina-Manakin were suspended pending the US authorisation. 

Following the authorisation, requests for comment from bp did not elicit a response, the publication said. 

Other entities, including France’s Maurel & Prom, Spain’s Repsol, and the Caribbean island of Aruba, have also received US licences to engage with Venezuela in recent days.  

As stated by Aruba Prime Minister Glenbert Croes, the island nation has been authorised to import Venezuelan fuel oil for domestic use. 

Venezuela is looking to initiate gas exports as a new revenue stream amidst the sanctions imposed since 2019.  

Concurrently, Trinidad is seeking additional gas supplies to sustain its petrochemical and liquefied natural gas industries as its own production declines. 

Officials from both Venezuela and Trinidad anticipate the joint development of a third project, the Loran-Manatee gas fields, which are estimated to hold approximately 10tcf of gas.  

Shell, overseeing the area on Trinidad’s side, has yet to make a final investment decision regarding the Manatee development.