PdVSA Expects to Invest $4B in Venezuelan Oil Block with Iran

CARACAS Jul 10, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PVZ.YY), or PdVSA, expects to invest around $4 billion to develop the Ayacucho 7 oil block with Iranian oil firm Petropars, PdVSA said in a statement Tuesday.

PdVSA and Petropars have been running seismic studies to determine how much oil reserves the area holds and expect to finish certifying the reserves shortly. PdVSA expects the block to hold 31 billion barrels of tar oil reserves, of which around 20% could be extracted with existing technology.

PdVSA expects oil production at the block to begin in about two years. Venezuela has made an effort to strike new oil projects with state oil firms, such as Petropars, China National Oil Corp. (CNPC.YY) and Brazil's Petrobras (PBR).

The Ayacucho field is in Venezuela's Orinoco oil basin, which the country claims to be the largest hydrocarbons deposit on the planet. PdVSA has four existing projects in the area that have the capacity to produce around 600,000 barrels a day, or about a fourth of the country's total production.

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