In a move that may increase crude oil production of ONGC, the state-owned oil explorer's overseas arm ONGC Videsh (OVL) began production from its Carabobo oilfield in Venezuela oil-rich Orinoco Belt.
The asset is operated by a joint venture firm Petrocarabobo, set up in Venezuela in June 2010 in which OVL has 11 percent stake. Oil India and Indian Oil Corp have 3.5 percent stake each.
Spain's Repsol SA and Petronas of Malaysia have 11 percent stake each while Venezuela's state energy monopoly Petroleos de Venezuela, or PdVSA, is the majority shareholder with 60 percent interest.
The operator is said to be producing extra-heavy crude from the first well in the field. While initially only a small quantity is being produced, the project aims to produce 30,000 barrels per day of crude oil in the first development phase and 90,000 barrels in the second phase. Ultimately, the project will produce 400,000 bpd (20 mn t a year) of crude oil.
In the next six-seven years, Petrocarabobo may produce 400,000 barrels of heavy oil a day, and include the eventual construction of an upgrader facility that is needed to convert the region's tar-like crude into a usable and exportable commodity.
Part of the heavy crude from this project will be destined for Respol's Spanish refineries. Indian refineries like Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemical too will get a part of the oil when the project reaches its peak.