Oxy H1 LatAm Oil Output Reaches 67,000 bpd

US oil company Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY) produced 67,000 barrels a day (b/d) of crude from its Latin American operations in the first half of this year, up from 34,000b/d in the year-ago period, Oxy reported in its earnings statement.

The increase reflects the acquisition of US oil company Vintage Petroleum's assets.

Former Vintage assets in Argentina provided Oxy with 31,000b/d of oil and 17 million cubic feet a day (Mf3/d) of natural gas as well as an additional 17Mf3/d from Bolivian operations.

Second quarter production in the areas was significantly higher than the six-month average, with 37,000b/d oil and 21Mf3/d natural gas coming from Argentine operations and 20Mf3/d of natural gas from Bolivia.

In 1H06, Colombian operations produced 36,000b/d, up 5.9% from 1H05. However, production dropped 5.6% to 34,000b/d in 2Q06 compared to 2Q05.

Oxy's 2005 production statistics do not include its former operations on block 15 in Ecuador, which the company has classified as "discontinued operations" on a retrospective application basis. Block 15 produces some 100,000b/d.

Oxy has filed an arbitration claim with the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) over the mid-May expropriation.

The company does not expect reimbursement for the expropriated assets in the near future, a company spokesperson quoted Oxy's chairman Ray Irani as saying. The spokesperson was speaking in a conference call to discuss the results.

Oxy and Ecuador's government are working to form the arbitration tribunal, a process that can take as long as five months from the date of the claim's registration, Gabriela lvarez, the ICSID lawyer working on the case, told BNamericas.

Company-wide, Oxy reported net profits of US$2.09bn in 1H06, down from US$2.38bn year-on-year. Profits from 1H06 include a US$269mn loss relating to discontinued operations.

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