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(Updates with comment from oil minister in third paragraph.)
Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state oil company, and a group of Russian companies started drilling the first oil well on the Junin 6 block today in the Orinoco crude belt, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said.
PDVSA, as the Caracas-based company is called, operates the block in a venture with Consorcio Nacional Ruso SRL and will reach production of 20,000 barrels of oil a day by December after starting early production in June, Ramirez told reporters in Anzoategui state.
“The plan that we presented to increase current production of about 3 million barrels a day to 3.5 million barrels a day is based on 470,000 barrels a day of new output from the Orinoco belt and 88,000 barrels a day that will come from the West of the country,” said Ramirez.
PDVSA also started drilling today at the Junin 10 field in the Orinoco belt, which it operates without any minority partners, and expects to see early production in June with output rising to 20,000 barrels a day by December, said Ramirez. Petromacareo, a joint venture between PDVSA and Petrovietnam, will start early production at the Junin 2 block in July, with output increasing to 20,000 barrels a day by December, according to the minister.
Petrocarabobo, a joint venture formed between PDVSA, Repsol YPF SA, Oil & Natural Gas Corp., Petroliam Nasional Bhd., Indian Oil Corp. and Oil India Ltd., will start production at the Carabobo 1 block in August and reach output of 35,000 barrels a day in December, said Ramirez.
The Consorcio Nacional Ruso is a venture with OAO Gazprom, Surgutneftegas, OAO Lukoil, TNK-BP and Rosneft Oil Co.
OPEC listed Venezuela’s production at 2.37 million barrels a day in December, according to the oil cartel’s January Oil Market Report.
--Editors: Charles Siler, Susan Warren
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