A Vietnam-Venezuela oil and gas joint venture has begun production at a new field in the Orinoco region with an initial output of 50,000 barrels per day (bpd), the Vietnamese government said on Thursday.
The venture, PetroMacareo, would raise extra heavy crude oil output from the field in Junin 2 block to 200,000 bpd by 2015, the government said in a statement.
PetroMacareo was formed by Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA, which has a 60 percent stake, and state oil and gas group PetroVietnam holding the remainder.
The venture is operating in an area believed to have reserves of 36.6 billion barrels, and it is expected to pump a total of 1.47 billion barrels during its 25-year operation, the statement said.
Vietnam is preparing to upgrade its sole oil refinery, the $2.2 billion Dung Quat plant, to expand its capacity by nearly a third and to be able to refine crude oil from the Middle East and Venezuela.