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PDVSA and Eni to Form Joint Ventures to Produce and Refine Heavy Crude Oil in Orinoco Region; Targeting 240,000 Barrels per Day

Venezuela state-owned PDVSA and Italy-based Eni are finalizing a planned 60:40 joint venture to produce heavy crude oil in Junin Block 5 in the Orinoco Oil Belt in Venezuela in 2014. A separate refining venture, with the same percentage shares, will also be built to refine the crude.

The development of Junin 5 will be conducted in two phases. The initial phase, starting in 2014, is targeting the production of 75,000 barrels per day. The second phase will bring this to 240,000 barrels per day, and will also see the construction of the refinery.

Pfcorinoco
The Orinoco Belt. Source: PFC. Click to enlarge.

Junin 5 is located in the Orinoco Oil Belt, specifically between Guarico and Anzoategui states. Junin is one of four major regions in the Orinoco Belt; the others are Caraboobo, Ayacucho and Boyaca. In early 2008 the firm Ryder Scott certified about 40 billion barrels of original oil in place on the Junin 5 block.

Venezuela contains billions of barrels in extra-heavy crude oil and bitumen deposits, most in the Orinoco Belt in central Venezuela. Estimates of the recoverable reserves from the Orinoco Belt range from 100 to 270 billion barrels, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

If the extra heavy crude and bitumen is included in the tally, Venezuela’s oil reserves could rival Saudi Arabia’s said RoseAnne Franco, PFC Senior Analyst in a presentation at the ASPO 2009 International Peak Oil Conference in October. There are two areas in the Western Hemisphere with world-class reserves, she noted: the Canadian tar sands and the Orinoco Belt.

In 2009, Venezuela produced about 600,000 barrels per day in joint ventures in the Orinoco Oil Belt. This production is estimated to increase to more than 1,000,000 million barrels per day by 2015.

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