Chevron could raise oil output in Venezuela by 50%, CEO says

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HOUSTON, April 28 (Reuters) - U.S. oil producer Chevron Corp (CVX.N) could raise its production in Venezuela this year by up to 50%, to 150,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), without significant new investments, Chief Executive Michael Wirth said on Friday.

The second-largest U.S. producer in November became the first U.S. producer to get a license from the U.S. Treasury Department to revive oil output and resume exports from Venezuela after a three-year pause triggered by U.S. sanctions.

The company is producing about 100,000 bpd in Venezuela, and the growth, Wirth said, is limited by terms of its U.S. license, which includes limits to activities it can do.

"There is a lot of relatively straightforward workover and other activity that can help bring production up without major capital commitments," Wirth said in a call with Wall Street analysts to discuss first quarter results.

Chevron is offering input to the U.S. government on the matter, Wirth said, but he refrained from saying whether the company has requested a license extension. The current authorization expires in late May.

"It is not really a negotiation. It is their decision. And it is policy matter," the CEO said.

Chevron has been able overcome operational issues to ramp up output and exports, including finding tanker owners willing to work in Venezuela, easing infrastructure bottlenecks and repairing oil upgrading facilities.

Chevron's exports of Venezuelan heavy crude to the United States have increased from some 75,000 bpd in January to 148,000 bpd so far this month, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and schedules from state company PDVSA.

Reporting by Sabrina Valle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Focused on energy-related sanctions, corruption and money laundering with 20 years of experience covering Latin America's oil and gas industries. Born in Venezuela and based in Houston, she is author of the book "Oro Rojo" about Venezuela's troubled state-run company PDVSA and Mom to three boys.

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