The PetroJunin joint venture between Venezuela’s PDVSA and Eni SPA has started heavy oil production from the first well in Junin-5 giant heavy oil field in the Orinoco belt.
The 425 sq km block 550 km southeast of Caracas is estimated to contain 35 billion bbl of oil equivalent in place. The two companies plan to hike production to 15,000 b/d by the end of 2013 and 75,000 b/d by early 2015 by drilling 180 wells.
A second phase calls for a production level of 240,000 b/d by the end of 2018. The joint venture expects to drill nearly 1,500 wells during the field’s expected 40-year life. Junin-5 ownership is PDVSA 60% and Eni 40%.
The two firms in the same percentages also formed the PetroBicentenario mixed enterprise for the construction and operation of a 350,000 b/d refinery in the Jose Industrial Complex on the Caribbean that will process diluted crude oil from Junin-5 into diesel, naphtha, and liquefied petroleum gas for export (OGJ Online, Dec. 6, 2010).
Engineering contracts for the refinery, which is also to process intermediate streams from other projects, were awarded in 2011, and its completion is thought to be at least 5 years away.