ConocoPhillips To Begin Venezuelan Drilling Program this Yea

ConocoPhillips plans to begin drilling at its Corocoro field offshore eastern Venezuela later this year.
"Beginning in December 2004 the company will begin drilling 14 exploration wells for the Corocoro Project Phase 1-A in waters in the Gulf of Paria," ConocoPhillips said in an announcement for contract companies printed in local newspapers.

The oil major plans to invest about $480 million through 2006 to achieve output of 55,000 barrels per day (bpd).

ConocoPhillips' partners in the Corocoro field are PDVSA and ENI. The consortium was awarded exploration rights in a 1996 licensing round.

Oil was discovered in the area in 1999 and the Ministry of Energy and Mines and PDVSA approved the development plan last year. PDVSA has the option to take up to 35 percent of the project if it is declared commercial.