France’s TotalEnergies is in talks to sell its majority stake in the YPergas joint venture (JV) in Venezuela to private equity group Sucre Energy, reported Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.

The move forms part of the French oil and gas company’s efforts to withdraw from natural gas operations and end future investments in Venezuela.

The latest talks come months after the French firm’s exit from the oil business in the country. In July 2021, the firm had divested its 30.32% interest in the Petrocedeño JV to Corporation Venezonala de Petróleos (CVP), an affiliate of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

TotalEnergies’ latest decision also forms part of its change in business strategies. The firm has been operating in the South American country since the 1990s.

YPergas produces approximately 50 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Total owns a 69.5% stake in the YPergas project, in which Spain’s Repsol holds a 15% stake while two other Venezuelan firms own the remaining interests.

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Supported by medium-size Asian and European funds, Sucre has been looking to acquire cheaper assets in Venezuela’s energy sector.

Several foreign investors have exited the energy industry in the crisis-stricken country, citing tough conditions as a result of mismanagement, and the US sanctions.

Last year, Sucre acquired Inpex’s 70% stake in the gas JV Gas Guarico, as well as a 30% interest in the Petroguarico oil JV.

Total and Norway’s Equinor returned a licence of an offshore natural gas project in eastern Venezuela to the government in December 2021, according to one of the sources.