CARACAS, Venezuela, June 5 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni said it signed an agreement to help develop the Perla gas field in Venezeula, one of the largest offshore finds in recent history.
Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi met in Caracas with Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramiriz and Antonio Brufau, the head of Spanish energy company Repsol, to discuss exploiting the Perla field.
Billed as one of the largest gas discoveries in the world, Eni said the Perla field off the coast of Venezuela holds an estimated 17 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. It's situated about 30 miles offshore in the Cardon IV reserve area, which is operated in part through a joint venture between Eni and Repsol.
"These agreements will grant Eni access to Perla's liquids reserves," the Italian company said in a statement Wednesday.
The trilateral agreement envisions a new mixed enterprise controlled by Venezuelan state-owned energy company Petroleos de Venezuela, known by the initials PDVSA. A secondary measure calls for as much as $1 billion in investments for Perla development.
Production from Perla is scheduled for the end of the year. First phase operations could produce as much as 300 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.