Chevron Producing at Max Capacity in Venezuela, No Increase Until 2007

US oil major Chevron (NYSE: CVX) has hit its crude production targets in Venezuela for 2006 and any increase in output would take place in 2007, Ali Moshiri, the president of Chevron Latin America Upstream told BNamericas on Wednesday.

"We are producing at the maximum capacity in all three of our assets," Moshiri said, referring to Chevron's Boscan and LL652 fields in western Venezuela's Zulia state, and the Ameriven extra heavy crude upgrading partnership with state oil firm PDVSA and fellow US major ConocoPhillips.

Chevron's total Venezuelan production is some 332,000 barrels a day (b/d) of crude varying from medium to extra heavy crude that is later upgraded, Moshiri said.

Current production in the Boscan field is 116,000b/d, in LL652 19,000b/d and in Ameriven 197,000b/d, he said, adding: "Those are in line with the targets for 2006."

Talking specifically about the plans for Ameriven, Moshiri said that the addition of another upgrading unit would not take place this year. "If we are to add any extra capacity it is not going to be in 2006, it will be in 2007. The plan for 2006 for our upgrader is maintenance, not expansion."

Chevron agreed to relinquish its operating service agreement for the Boscan field last year and enter into a joint venture with PDVSA. Boscan produces a type of crude specially suited for the manufacturing of asphalt.

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