HOUSTON, May 3 (Reuters) – PetroVietnam’s joint venture with Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA remains stalled but the Vietnamese company hopes ongoing talks will lead to reactivation of operations, a top executive for the company told Reuters on Wednesday.

Vietnam’s state-run oil company and PDVSA operate the PetroMacareo extra-heavy crude project in Venezuela’s vast Orinoco Belt. After PetroVietnam halted oil production in 2014 due to tough economic conditions, the firm considered selling its 40-percent stake, but did not.

Now, PetroVietnam is trying to get operations going again.

“At the moment, we have stopped … We might restart later,” said Ngo Huu Hai, CEO of PetroVietnam Exploration and Production on the sidelines of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston.

Both companies are in talks on new conditions for the joint venture, he added, without elaborating. He did not give a timeframe for the potential restart. PDVSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A long-standing currency control system has complicated payments to foreign firms in Venezuela and their repatriation of profits.

PetroVietnam, which has sought to expand its oil production overseas, in 2014 said Venezuela’s investment environment was not suitable for the firm, especially due to the country’s high inflation.

PetroMacareo was expected to produce some 200,000 barrels per day of crude by 2016.

(Reporting by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Alexandra Ulmer and Diane Craft)

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