A joint venture between Vietnam's PetroVietnam Exploration and Production Corp (PVEP) and Venezuela's Petroleum Corp (CVP), known as Petromacareo, officially pumped the first gallons of commercial oil at the PDV-39 Drilling Platform in Venezuela on April 19.

The platform is located at Block Junin 2 in eastern Venezuela 's Orinoco River Delta, 800km away from the capital of Caracas .

The event was witnessed by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and other senior officials of the two countries.

Block Junin 2 is expected to yield up to 31 billion barrels of crude oil over a total area of 247.7sq.km, and it is considered to be the second biggest oil field in the world in terms of reserves, according to the website Petrotimes.vn.

PVEP is an affiliate of the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and CVP is a member of Venezuelan State-owned oil group (PDVSA – Petroleos de Venezuela SA). The joint venture was officially set up in June 2010.

Do Van Hau, director general of PetroVietnam, said at the event: "It is estimated that next year PDV-39 platform will churn out some 7,000 barrels of heavy crude oil per day, whereas Block Junin 2 will reach a total output of more than 200,000 barrels or 10 million tonnes of crude oil per day."

Heavy crude oil will be processed at oil refineries in both countries to turn into light commercial oil or fuels for the auto industry and other sectors.

Under the co-operation contract, PetroVietnam holds a 40 percent stake and its Venezuelan partner has the rest.

Petrotimes reported that the oil exploitation at Block Junin 2 will help ensure energy security for Vietnam within the next 25 years.

Venezuela ranks in the top five oil exporters in the world. Oil industry accounts for 82 percent of the country's total export turnover and makes up half of the country's GDP.

PetroVietnam has continued to perform well and surpass most of its targets for the first quarter. At the end of March, its total revenue reached 189.4 trillion VND (9 billion USD), up 25.3 percent year-on-year and exceeding the first-quarter target by 29.4 percent.

The group's contribution to the State budget totalled 40.6 trillion VND (1.93 billion USD), a year-on-year increase of 24 percent and surpassing the period target of 15.3 percent.

Its total oil production in the first quarter reached 6.45 million tonnes, equivalent to 106 percent of the first-quarter plan and up 7.2 percent year-on-year. Oil sales were 4.03 million tonnes, 4.4 percent above the target.-VNA