Some $130 billion will be invested in Venezuela's Orinoco Oil Belt between 2013 and 2019 to boost national production from 3 million barrels per day to 6 million bpd, President Hugo Chavez said.
The investment program for that heavy oil region, the world's largest petroleum reservoir, is equivalent to roughly a third of the $383 billion the Treasury says it collected in taxes and royalties over the past 10 years.
Roughly $5 billion is to be invested this year, which will enable "production in the Belt to reach 1.35 million barrels per day by the end of 2012," Chavez said.
Of the estimated 6 million bpd to be produced in Venezuela in 2019, "4 million will come from the Belt, which now produces 1.2 million," Chavez said in a televised address Tuesday evening from one of the wells in that region.
Studies by state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, show that 300 billion barrels can be extracted from the Orinoco Belt; that means 20 percent of the heavy crude and extra-heavy crude it is estimated to hold at a depth of 400 meters (1,310 feet) in sandy terrain, (conditions that) reduce the level of spending (needed to) extract it, Chavez said.
The U.S. Geological Survey puts the oil recovery rate at as high as 40 percent, "which doubles our estimate," Chavez said. EFE