Industry Group: PDVSA Producing Extra 2.8Mm3/d from Maracaibo

Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA is extracting an additional 80M-100Mf3/d (up to 2.8Mm3/d) of natural gas from Maracaibo lake, Nicolas Bracho, president of natural gas industrialists' association AVPG, told BNamericas.

The extra output is a result of reductions in venting and flaring as well as improvements in other procedures. Not including the additional output, PDVSA normally produces some 500Mf3/d at the lake.

But Venezuela will not be able to close its gas deficit of roughly 1Bf3/d for "months at least," Bracho said. "Right now there are several plans to sort out the deficit."

Other projects that could help reduce the deficit include the development of the ICO natural gas pipeline in western Venezuela and imports of Colombian gas via the binational pipeline project.

"That would really close the deficit," Bracho said.

Venezuela needs the extra gas for refining, thermo generation, petrochemicals and crude oil production, which consumes roughly 70% of the country's gas supply.

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