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The first oil production has started at the Junin-6 block in the Orinoco River basin in Venezuela, Gazprom Neft reported.
The Junin-6 oil field, which has geological reserves of over 50 Bbbl of oil, will be developed by a consortium of five Russian oil companies: Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, Rosneft, Surgutneftegaz, and TNK-BP through OOO National Oil Consortium (NOC).
In 2010, the board of directors of NOC selected Gazprom Neft to lead project coordination on the Russian side in the PetroMiranda joint venture (operator of the Junin-6 block). Under Venezuelan law, 60% of PetroMiranda is owned by a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, Corporacion Venezolana del Petroleo (CVP), and 40% is owned by NOC.
Over the past two years, all the necessary project preparatory work has been completed, the release said. An office of the JV was opened in Puerto La Cruz where there are now more than 200 employees. Further, five sites for drilling appraisal wells and geological exploration of the block have been built, with the first appraisal well having been drilled already. Infrastructure development also continues and the conceptual design of an upgrader, a unit needed to improve the quality of heavy oil from the Orinoco River belt, has been completed.
In spring 2012, project shareholders agreed to start early production of oil at the field, putting the Junin-6 block into operation before the final investment decision, according to the release. The startup of production was made possible by the completion of the drilling of the first horizontal production well in August 2012.
During the early production stage, production at the block will reach 50,000 b/d of oil, according to the release. It is planned that the block will supply up to 10,000 bbl of crude per day by road to an oil treatment facility at the neighboring Petrosidenia field, with the introduction of a pipeline after production increases. The construction of PetroMiranda’s own upgrader is expected to be completed in five years.