Anadarko expects crew detained by Venezuela will be released soon

A U.S. oil research vessel and its crew, detained by the Venezuelan navy last week, are set to be released soon, a spokesman for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said Tuesday.

The Woodlands-based independent oil producer has been working with officials in two countries to secure the release of the 36-member crew of the MV Teknik Perdana, since Oct. 10, when Venezuelan officials intercepted the Anadarko-contracted ship and ordered it to sail to Margarita Island. Several U.S. citizens are part of the crew, including several from Texas.

Both the crew and vessel “will reportedly be released in the near future,”  said John Christiansen, a spokesman for the Woodlands-based independent producer, in a written statement. He added that Venezuelan authorities have treated the crew in a “respectful manner.”

Anadarko had contracted the vessel to map the sea floor off the coast of Guyana, where it had a license to hunt for hydrocarbons. Both Venezuela and Guyana contend it was traveling in their sovereign territory in the Caribbean waters, a region the two nations have disputed for decades. It arrived at Margarita Island on Sunday.

The foreign ministers of Guyana and Venezuela are slated to meet Thursday in Trinidad and Tobago’s Port of Spain to discuss the U.S. oil research vessel and its crew detained by the Venezuelan navy in disputed waters last week.

On Tuesday, an official for the Guyana Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the upcoming meeting between Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Guyana’s foreign minister, and Venezuela Foreign Minister Elias Jaua.

Most of the crew, which includes five Americans, work for College Station-based TDI-Brooks International, said Peter Tatro, director of operations at TDI-Brooks.