Suelopetrol JV to Increase Output to 7,000b/d by End-2006

Venezuelan private oil firm Suelopetrol plans to increase production from the Cabimas oilfield in western Venezuela's Zulia state to 7,000 barrels a day (b/d) from the current 6,300b/d by the end of this year, Suelopetrol president Henrique Rodriguez Guillen told BNamericas.

"The business plan is to reach 10,000b/d in 2010," Rodriguez said at his company's corporate stand at the Venezuelan Oil Chamber's annual energy conference in Caracas.

The field is the subject of a joint venture between state oil firm PDVSA and Suelopetrol, in which PDVSA is the majority partner with 60%.

Suelopetrol and its partner are fine-tuning the 2006 E&P investment budget.

"Right now we are talking about investments of US$12mn and another US$12mn in operational costs," the official said.

Suelopetrol is unique in the Venezuelan oil business for having made the successful leap from seismic-services provider to fully fledged oil company, having E&P operations in Mexico and being the only oil company in the country that has its stock traded on the Caracas stock exchange, a feat not even PDVSA can boast of.

"We came from the upstream services sector, 23 years lifting seismic data in Venezuela in all kinds of environment and terrain. We just finished a huge recollection for PDVSA near El Furrial in eastern Venezuela," Rodriguez said.

The growth of Suelopetrol's E&P business, which started after the company acquired the Cabimas field from German company Preussag, is forcing Suelopetrol to reorganize in different business divisions, a process currently ongoing.

Recently Fondonorma, the Venezuelan correspondent of the International Standards Institute of Switzerland, granted ISO 9001:2000 quality control classification to Suelopetrol's E&P operations.

"We achieved this in only 18 months and think we will transfer this capacity to our joint venture," Rodriguez said.

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