ChevronTexaco & Repsol Ink Deal for Orinoco Belt Development

ChevronTexaco's affiliate company in Venezuela signed a Letter of Intent with Spain's Repsol YPF to pursue with the government of Venezuela new joint development activities in Venezuela's prolific Orinoco Belt.

The signing was attended by representatives from Venezuela's Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and its national oil company, PDVSA, and representatives from the governments of Spain and the United States. ChevronTexaco's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dave O'Reilly and Repsol YPF's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Antonio Brufau attended the ceremony on behalf of their respective companies.

It is envisaged that the project would include not only the development of a new Orinoco Belt area but also the production of extra-heavy Faja crude and the transportation of crude through a new regional pipeline. Completing the value chain, the project would include proposed new facilities in Venezuela to upgrade the crude to a high-quality syncrude or refined products.

Commenting on the new agreement, O'Reilly said, "Venezuela has long been a country of importance to ChevronTexaco and continues to play a significant role in the company's long-term strategic growth objectives. The signing of the Letter of Intent with Repsol YPF provides us with an opportunity to further enhance our existing portfolio in Venezuela and sets the stage for what we believe will lead to an even longer and lasting partnership. Equally, I'm very pleased that Repsol will be joining us in what could potentially be a multibillion dollar investment project."

The new activities, which will be aligned with Venezuela's current hydrocarbon laws, will be framed under the Venezuelan government's new energy policy and would utilize the latest technology for crude oil production and upgrading, including enhanced recovery processes. Currently, there are four oil associations (international oil company partnerships) with PDVSA to develop the Orinoco Belt. They produce and transport extra-heavy crude oil of 8 degrees API to different upgraders (one for each association) located at the Jose Industrial Complex in the Venezuelan oriental coast. The upgraders improve the quality and gravity of the Orinoco Belt production from 16 degrees to 32 degrees API for further marketing to refineries around the world.