Belarus and Venezuela have agreed to invest $8 billion in oil operations in the Junin 1 block of the Orinoco Belt in the next 25 years, a Mexican newspaper quoted the Venezuelan energy minister as saying on Wednesday.
The announcement was made by the energy and oil industry minister, Petroleum Rafael Ramirez, who said that an extra-heavy oil upgrader would be built to process the oil produced at the Orinoco belt, according to the report.
The agreement to invest the funds was the outcome of a meeting held by the High-Level Belarusian-Venezuelan Joint Commission in Caracas on Wednesday.
Mr. Ramirez said that the field has about 2 billion barrels of proven reserves. There is much interest in developing it, he said.
He noted that the Venezuelan ministry`s goal is to produce 200,000 barrels per day of extra-heavy oil thanks to the two countries` joint venture.
In 2007, Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Hugo Chavez agreed on the the establishment of Petrolera BeloVenesolana, a Belarusian-Venezuelan oil company, to develop oil and natural gas fields in the Orinaco River basin.
The basin has an estimated 316 billion barrels of oil in place, with most of it deposited in the Hunin-1 field exploited by the joint enterprise, in which Venezuela`s Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, controls 60 percent and Belorusnafta hold a 40-percent stake.
In April 2008, Petrolera BeloVenesolana produced about 5,000 barrels of oil daily. In July 2008, Messrs. Lukashenka and Chavez signed a memorandum to give Petrolera BeloVenesolana access to more oil fields. The company is expected to double output in 2010.