September 9, 2013 / 5:24 PM / in 4 years

Exclusive: Malaysia's Petronas exiting crude project in Venezuela's Orinoco - sources

A motorist pumps petrol at a Petronas gas station in Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur August 26, 2013. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad

HOUSTON/CARACAS (Reuters) - Malaysian oil company Petronas is exiting one of the biggest petroleum projects in Venezuela’s Orinoco belt after tensions with state-run PDVSA over contract terms, three sources close to the venture told Reuters.

The flagship project, called Petrocarabobo, has planned investments of about $20 billion over 25 years and calls for building a 200,000 barrel per day upgrader to convert heavy crude into light crude oil.

State-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) has 60 percent of the project. Petronas belongs to a consortium that holds 40 percent of the project. Its other partners are Spain’s Repsol, India’s ONGC (ONGC.NS) and two small Indian firms. Petronas holds an 11 percent stake.

“We exited already,” said a top executive from Petronas, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. He added that the company will not run any other projects in the OPEC-member country.

Reporting By Marianna Parraga in Houston and Brian Ellsworth in Caracas; Editing by Terry Wade

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