SAN DIEGO DE CABRUTICAS (Dow Jones Newswires), Oct. 7, 2011
A joint venture between state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela and a consortium of Russian companies is expected to begin producing crude in the Orinoco heavy oil belt by May, officials said Thursday.
"The physical work has begun," said Igor Sechin, deputy prime minister of Russia, during a tour of the oil fields with Venezuelan Oil
Eventually, 34 wells will be drilled at the Orinoco's Junin 6 bloc, which is slated to begin producing 50,000 barrels of crude by next
The Junin 6 bloc is 60% owned by PdVSA, as the state energy monopoly is known, while the Russian consortium made up of Rosneft, Surgutneftegaz, TNK-BP Holdings, Lukoil Holdings and Gazprom Neft holds the remaining 40%.
Venezuela is pushing foreign oil partners to increase investment into developing its crown jewel Orinoco belt in a bid to raise the
Speaking on state television, Chavez said the project is the latest example of strengthening ties with Russia as the socialist leader
Chavez also briefly proposed creating a new organization that would protect the interests of large oil exporters, but said it wouldn't
"The thought occurred to me of how we could create a new organization of this new world that is emerging of the oil giants. There aren't too many oil giants in the world, maybe four or five, and Venezuela and Russia are two of them," the president said.
While Venezuela's Orinoco region holds one of the largest and mostly untapped deposits of crude in the world, billions of dollars will have to be poured into converting the region's tar-like heavy oil into a usable and exportable commodity. The South American country aims to bring in $80 billion in investment over the next several years to develop the fields.
At an oil conference in Venezuela last week, officials from various energy companies stressed that financing the large-scale production
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