Venezuela expects Repsol joint venture to produce by year's end
Kejal Vyas, Dow Jones Newswires
PUERTO LA CRUZ, Venezuela — Venezuelan officials expect to begin early production at Petrocarabobo, a joint venture with Spain's Repsol SA, by December, a director of the South American country's new oil-field development projects said Tuesday.
"I can tell you for sure that this year we will have early production in Petrocarabobo because we have the drills to do it," Ruben Figuera, executive director of Venezuela's new projects in the Orinoco heavy oil belt, said on the sidelines of an energy conference here.
Mr. Figuera said he couldn't provide a figure for how much crude oil will be extracted in the initial phase. He said the first network of wells already have been built with 32 Chinese-made drills at the site, which is majority controlled by state oil monopoly Petroleos de Venezuela, or PdVSA. The director also said Petroindependencia, PdVSA's joint venture with U.S. oil major Chevron Corp., also could produce later this year.
He said three wells have been constructed and the project is going to be "a bit delayed" but should be able to begin drilling this year. Venezuela is putting high priority in developing projects in the Orinoco region, considered to be one of the world's largest and mostly untapped heavy crude reserves in the world.
The region is slated to play a central role in President Hugo Chavez's plans to boost output of the commodity in coming years. Projects in the Orinoco region will need investment of at least $120 billion over next several years, Mr. Figuera said.