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Report: Shell looking to sell 40% stake in Venezuelan oil venture with PDVSA

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Report: Shell looking to sell 40% stake in Venezuelan oil venture with PDVSA

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is looking to sell its 40% stake in Petroregional del Lago SA, its oil joint venture with state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), to Paris-based Maurel & Prom to focus on natural gas, according to an Oct. 11 article from Reuters, citing three unnamed sources.

Shell is reportedly unhappy with delays in receiving dividends from PDVSA as well as a ban on minority partners independently exporting production.

Analysts have said recently that Venezuelan crude oil production could fall below 1 MMbbl/d by year's end amid political and economic strife in the country.

The potential sale of the interest in the company, for which a price remains unknown, is being analyzed by Venezuela's Oil Ministry. However, a disagreement over a fee called an entrance bonus that Maurel & Prom would have to pay to the government to gain access to reserves, has the negotiations on hold, two sources told Reuters.

Maurel & Prom has been focused on Africa, but it has also formed strategic alliances with Frontera Energy Corp. in Colombia and Peru, according to the article. Petroregional, which operates the Urdaneta Oeste field, is Shell's only venture in Venezuela.