Table of Contents
Venezuela offers the greatest oil and gas exploration and development potential in South America. From 1914 to year-end 1993, 45.5 billion barrels of oil and 18.1 TCF of gas have been produced, and remaining proven reserves are estimated at 63.3 billion barrels of oil and 119 TCF of gas.
Venezuela has one of the world’s most wide-ranging and complex production, processing, and marketing systems, including large offshore installations, an extensive pipeline system, refineries, petrochemical processing plants, a fleet of tankers and a broad distribution and marketing system.
In 1992, Venezuela produced an average of 2.3 million barrels of crude per day. Refinery throughput was 1.2 million barrels per day, while the remaining 1.1 million barrels was exported. Domestic consumption of refined products was 410,000 barrels per day and the remaining 650,000 barrels per day was exported. The principal export market for both unprocessed crude oil and refined products is the U.S., although Western Europe, Central America, and the Caribbean import significant amounts as well.
Although the two major basins, Maracaibo and East Venezuela, must be regarded as mature, giant fields (100 million barrels) and supergiant fields (one billion barrels) have been discovered in the past decade, after more than 60 years of active exploration and development. Venezuelan oil companies, in collaboration with the country’s national research arm, have progressively applied new technology to exploration, but financial and technical resources are limited. Many giant fields discovered in the 1920’s and 1930’s still have the potential for large additional recoveries through application of enhanced recovery processes. Much of Venezuela’s future potential lies in the immense heavy oil deposits of the Orinoco Tar belt.
In August, 1994, the Venezuelan government announced its intention to offer rights to 10 large exploration blocks in the Maracaibo, East Venezuela and Barinas-Apure basins. On the basis of anticipated terms of a final offering of this exploration acreage, an economic analysis of a block on the east shore of Lake Maracaibo was carried out to provide a measure of the economic potential of this basin. On this basis, a 150 million barrel field would be required to provide a 12.5 percent rate of return. The principal factors driving up the economic threshold field size are the high initial exploration outlay and the lengthy lead time before the start of production.
For more information contact:
Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd.
500, 736- 8th Avenue S.W.
Phone: (403) 218-1618
Fax: (403) 262-9135
This summary, part of Petrel Robertson’s 1995 summary of exploration and development opportunities in 31 countries around the world, has not been updated. Some of the information, particularly relating to political and economic issues, is thus out of date. It is included, however, to demonstrate the breadth and depth of Petrel’s work in each of these nations.