ChevTex South American Oil Output up 28% in Q1

US oil company ChevronTexaco (NYSE: CVX) produced 91,000 barrels a day (b/d) of oil in South America during the first quarter this year, up 28.2% from 71,000b/d in 1Q04, the company said in supplementary information to its Q1 earnings release.

Regional oil production increased 21.3% from 4Q04. Gas production in the region fell 14.2% to 417 million cubic feet a day (Mf3/d) in 1Q05 from 486Mf3/d in 1Q04. However, production increased 7.2% from 389Mf3/d in 4Q04. Marketing margins in Latin America increased 15.1% to US$5.72/b from US$4.97/b in 1Q04. Margins also increased 2% from US$5.61/b in the fourth quarter last year.

ChevronTexaco increased its oil and gas production in Venezuela by 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day (boe/d) in Q1 compared to 4Q04 due to production from the US$3.8bn Hamaca extra-heavy crude oil upgrader, ChevronTexaco's manager of investor relations, Randy Richards, said in a conference call to discuss Q1 results. ChevronTexaco has a 30% stake in the Hamaca project, ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) 40% and Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA the remaining 30%. Since completing construction in August 2004, Hamaca is producing about 180,000 barrels a day (b/d) of synthetic crude, Richards said.

Also in Venezuela during Q1, ChevonTexaco signed a letter of intent with Spain's Repsol YPF (NYSE:REP) and state oil firm PDVSA to develop a heavy crude upgrade project in the Orinoco belt with required investment of some US$5bn-6bn.

In offshore Trinidad & Tobago, ChevronTexaco announced a gas discovery at its Manatee 1 well, extending the recent Loran discoveries in Venezuelan waters. In downstream, ChevronTexaco has reached agreements to sell its service stations in Peru and Colombia, company vice-president and CFO, Steve Crowe, said during the call.

Globally, ChevronTexaco reported net income of US$2.7bn for the first quarter 2005 compared with US$2.6bn in the year-ago period.

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