Production of extra heavy crude oil began late in December from the first well operated by the Petrocarabobo joint venture in the Orinoco oil belt of Venezuela.
The initial flow rate was modest, according to joint venture partners, in the first well of a project expected eventually to yield 400,000 b/d of 8º gravity crude oil. A planned upgrader will yield oil of 16º gravity.
In the first phase of development, production is to reach 30,000 b/d. A second phase will push output to 90,000 b/d.
Petroleo de Venezuela SA holds a 60% interest in the venture. Other interests are Repsol, Oil & Natural Gas Corp. of India, and Petronas, 11% each, and Oil India Ltd. and Indian Oil Corp. Ltd., 3.5% each.