First light crude from Sincor

March 18, 2002, 08:00 CET

An upgrading plant at Jose in Venezuela has begun producing low-sulphur light crude from the Sincor project, in which Statoil has a 15 per cent stake.

Plans call for the first consignment of this Zuata Sweet oil to leave the Jose terminal in late March, with regular shipments to market scheduled to start in April.

The Sincor development is one of Statoil’s biggest commitments outside Norway and the largest in Venezuela, with a total price tag of USD 4.2 billion.

Fields covered by the development are due to deliver 200,000 barrels of heavy crude per day from the Zuata region in the Orinoco Belt, about 200 kilometres inland from Jose.

This output will be converted by the upgrading facility to 180,000 barrels of Zuata Sweet per day. Statoil’s share is 27,000 daily barrels.

The group’s partners in the project are state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), with 38 per cent, and TotalFinaElf with 47 per cent.

“We have particularly contributed to this development with planning and execution of drilling and well activities, field development planning, project execution and the main principles for marketing and sale of the upgraded crude oil,” explains Kåre Røsandhaug, Statoil's vice president for international production.

It has taken 42 months to bring the upgrading plant into full operation. Sincor holds a contract with the Venezuelan authorities to produce the Zuata fields until 2037.

Statoil has bought one of the first cargoes, which is due to leave Jose within the next few weeks.