PDVSA’s First Offshore Gas Output to Assist Heavy Oil Production

Initial natural gas volumes from offshore Venezuela will likely assist in the production of heavy crude oil rather than be used for exports.

Output from the offshore La Perla field is expected to reach 300 million cubic feet a day by the end of 2013 when it begins production, according to the website of Venezuela’s state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA. South America’s largest oil producer plans to invest $22 billion from 2013 to 2019 to develop gas projects.

“Initial gas production offshore Venezuela will likely be used to increase the production of heavy crudes,” Rebecca Fitz, an analyst with Washington-based PFC Energy, said in a phone interview Friday.

PDVSA, based in Caracas, produced 7.3 billion cubic feet a day of gas in 2012 from onshore fields, of which 2.9 billion cubic feet a day was reinjected into reservoirs to assist in the production of heavy and extra-heavy crudes. The rest was used above ground domestically. PDVSA expects to produce 11.9 billion cubic feet a day of gas by the end of 2019.

Repsol SA and Eni SpA are partners in the La Perla field, each with a 32.5 percent stake.

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