Minister: Carabobo I Block Holds 45.5Bb Reserves

The Carabobo I block on Venezuela's Orinoco extra-heavy crude belt holds 45.5Bb of reserves on site, energy and oil minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters.

Roughly 20% of the on-site oil is retrievable. "This means we have enough for four Sincors," Ramirez said in reference to the 200,000b/d project on the Orinoco.

Ramirez was speaking at a ceremony attended by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez and his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA and Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) are working together on the reserve calculations. Independent reservoir appraisal firm Ryder Scott had certified the crude at Carabobo I.

"With these results... we have the necessary volumes to develop an extra-heavy crude project that entails processing and building the Abreu de Lima refinery in Pernambuco, Brazil," PDVSA said in a statement.

The project would cost US$9bn and would process roughly half of the crude from Carabobo I.

Crude is not the only hydrocarbon present at Carabobo I. "There are commercial amounts of natural gas in that block as well," Jorge Luis Sanchez, president of gas regulator Enagas, told BNamericas.

PDVSA has said the Orinoco holds 316Bb of crude, of which some 30% are recoverable.

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