France’s Total SA and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) will jointly bid for two large oil blocks being auctioned in Venezuela, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The Sino-French group’s bid includes the building of upgraded processing facilities; sources put the cost of developing just one of the two blocks at US$7-10 billion. Should the Total-CNPC bid be successful, Total would operate the blocks and would be responsible for upgrading the processing facilities. The recent near failure of a licensing round in Iraq may be boosting interest in the Venezuelan blocks among the 19 foreign companies bidding for the concessions. CNPC, in partnership with BP, won the contract for Iraq’s Rumaila oil field, the only successful deal to emerge from the licensing round.