The Peruvian oil company PetroPeru will join the Venezuelan project to produce crude in the Orinoco River basin called Orinoco belt, one of the world’s largest deposits, Venezolana de Television said.
Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez said the agreement was reached on Saturday during the visit by Peruvian President Ollanta Humala.
“I can say that beginning with today we have a new partner in the Orinoco belt – it is PetroPeru,” Chavez said.
He said $5 billion would be invested in the Orinoco belt projects in 2012 to increase crude production from 838,000 barrels per day to 1.5 million barrels.
The Orinoco belt has estimated reserves of 86.4 billion barrels in the country whose oil reserves totaled 296.5 billion barrels in late 2010, according to the Venezuelan energy and oil ministry.
The energy wealth makes Venezuela the world’s leader in crude reserves followed by Saudi Arabia with 266 billion barrels, according OPEC estimates.
Russian companies have also been involved in the Orinoco belt projects and are developing the Junin 6 and Junin 3 oilfields on the river together with Venezuela.