53% of PDVSA's Lake Maracaibo Oil Ops in Bad Shape

Dow Jones Newswires

CARACAS Oct 24, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)

An audit earlier this year by Petroleos de Venezuela showed that 53% of the oil installations in Lake Maracaibo are in "critical" operating conditions, prompting the firm to set aside $1.6 billion for repairs, company executives told local daily El Universal.

So far the state oil firm has repaired three flow stations and replaced 5,000 kilometers of pipelines on the lake, where around a third of Venezuela's oil is produced.

"We've already recovered the Lagunillas 1, Bachaquero C and Lana 4 flow stations," Ricardo Coronado, the head of PDVSA's western operations, told El Universal in an interview published Tuesday.

According to Coronado, PDVSA's western operations produced an average of 950,000 barrels a day through this August, lower than the 970,000 b/d target

PDVSA claims the country is producing nearly 3.3 million barrels a day in oil, while industry estimates put Venezuelan output closer to 2.6 million b/d. PDVSA sacked half its staff in 2003 following an extended strike, and has suffered from operational problems since.

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