Intevep: Orinoco Could Hold 1.3Tb

Venezuela's Orinoco extra-heavy crude oil belt could hold up to 1.3 trillion barrels of hydrocarbons, according to latest estimates from state oil firm PDVSA's R&D arm Intevep.

New extraction methods could ensure a recovery rate of 30%, meaning Venezuela would be sitting on 160 million barrels more than the 235 billion previously estimated.

"In the Orinoco areas, the recovery factor is now 8% or 9%. We hope to take it to 30%," Intevep president Hercilio Rivas told reporters. "That means our oil belt will be giving us oil at pretty high production levels for another 100 years at least."

The 30% recovery rate is not unrealistic, Rivas said.

"The achievements and research we are currently conducting allow us to be very optimistic. For medium to light crude, we can even take the recovery rate to 40%," he said.

Intevep is conducting two separate E&P pilot projects to improve its retrieval rate at Orinoco, Intevep planning director Omar Uzcategui said.

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