Zulia Tremor Leaves Oil Operations Unscathed

Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA says its crude oil and natural gas production levels are normal in western Venezuela after an earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale hit Zulia state on Tuesday evening.

The Coastal Dike bordering Lake Maracaibo is a key exploration and production area for PDVSA but was not damaged by the tremor, PDVSA western division E&P general manager Ricardo Coronado said in a PDVSA statement.

The structure was surveyed by PDVSA personnel after the earthquake and found to be sound, the statement said.

Lake Maracaibo is still a major E&P area more than 80 years after US oil workers drilled the famous Los Barroso gusher, the first major find in Venezuela. Most importantly it has a navigational channel that allows tankers to traverse the body of water. More than half of Venezuela's oil exports leave daily through the lake.

The western division is producing slightly over 1 million barrels a day (Mb/d), PDVSA said last week, or less than a third of total Venezuelan production of 3.3Mb/d.

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