Recovery up in Venezuela

April 17, 2000, 10:00 CEST

Output from the 35-year-old LL 652 field in Venezuela has risen after new production and processing platforms began operating on 2 April.

Drilling new production wells and injecting gas and water to improve recovery could boost the daily flow of oil from 16,000 to 100,000 barrels over the next five-six years.

"The new installations are fully on a par with those found in the North Sea," says Jon B Røed, Statoil's project manager towards operator Chevron.

He says that these platforms are among the best in Venezuela for health, the environment and safety, thanks in part to pressure from Statoil.

The water injection platform on the Lake Maracaibo field began operating last December, and is already injecting 50,000 barrels per day.

However, production has continued through the existing installations until now. The new US-built production/processing platforms were installed last August.

Total development costs for the first phase, which has now been completed, are roughly NOK 4 billion.

So far, 28 of the 300 planned production and injection wells have been drilled. Further development will depend on the recovery factor achieved by injecting water and gas in the new wells.

LL 652 was awarded to Chevron, Statoil, Arco and Phillips in 1997 as part of Venezuela's third licensing round. These partners took over from state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) in May 1998, and have so far doubled the field's output.