Chevron, ConocoPhillips Agree to May 1 Handover in Venezuela

Venezuela said on Thursday that U.S. oil giants ConocoPhillipsand Chevronhad agreed to cede by May 1 the operations of multi-billion dollar projects in the Orinoco heavy crude belt.

The companies will form transition committees to oversee the handover of the projects' operations to state oil company PDVSA.

Venezuela, which is pressing ahead quickly with a sweeping raft of nationalizations, has said it is seeking at least 60 percent of the projects that develop the tarry crude from the Caribbean country's east.

PDVSA director Eulogio del Pino said in a company statement the committees were being formed "so that the nationalization of these businesses should be finalized by May 1 and that the operations should be transferred from the foreign firms to the Venezuelan state."

Exxon Mobilhas already agreed to cede its Orinoco operations to Venezuela.

Del Pino said Conoco had also agreed to set up a transition body for the handover of operations in a natural gas field, Corocoro, which is covered by last month's decree too.