CARACAS (Dow Jones) -- Chevron Texaco's (CVX) initial drilling results at Venezuela 's offshore Deltana natural gas platform are "excellent," confirming vast deposits of natural gas in the area, state news agency Venpres cited Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez as saying. "Just as we had predicted, in the Deltana platform there are important gas reserves," said Ramirez. "The first (drilling) results have been excellent," added Ramirez. Chevron began drilling at Block 2 of the Deltana platform in August. The first well was expected to reach 6,000 feet within 55 days. Chevron wasn't immediately available for comment on the drilling program.
Chevron also has rights to drill at Block 3 of the platform, while Statoil (STO) has the rights to Block 4.
State oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela (PVZ.YY), or PdVSA, plans to invest $9.5 billion to raise the country's natural gas output to 11 billion cubic feet per day by 2009, up from 6.3 billion cubic feet at present. The Deltana area has an estimated 38 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.