Official: PDVSA US$7bn E&P 2006 Plan 35% Executed

Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA is currently keeping some 80 drilling rigs busy as its US$7bn E&P plan for this year has been about 35% executed, company E&P deputy president Luis Vierma told BNamericas on Wednesday.

PDVSA is keen to add barrels of crude and cubic feet of gas to Venezuela's proven reserves, boosting production in 22 joint ventures with private oil companies at present collectively producing some 350,000 barrels a day (b/d) by another 100,000b/d and increasing production in four existing projects to upgrade Orinoco extra-heavy crude, Vierma said. The official reiterated an end-2007 production goal of 3.4 million barrels a day (Mb/d), even when PDVSA's published 2006 budget talks only of some 3.1Mb/d.

"We think we should accelerate production in the Orinoco oil belt: the largest increase in production will come from eastern Venezuela extra-heavy crudes. Taking current prices into account, we should aim towards important growth in those projects," said Vierma, who was speaking on the sidelines of the 17th International Gas Convention in Caracas.

One of the hurdles to increased production of crude and natural gas will soon be cleared with new early production from San Tomé in Anzoátegui state and additional offshore developments.

"We think that deficit should be covered by the end of 2008 and we should have a surplus by 2009," Vierma said.

The company will drill some 14 appraisal wells this year and another 100 or so new production wells in different areas.

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