MOSCOW, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Russian energy company TNK-BP said oil production from its joint venture in Venezuela increased 18 percent during the first nine months of the year.
PetroMonagas, a joint venture between TNK-BP and Venezuelan state energy company Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, was 35.5 million barrels through September, an 18 percent increase from the same time last year.
Boris Zilbermints, a vice president for international projects at TNK-BP, said Venezuela is key to the company's overseas portfolio.
"TNK-BP is focused on optimizing its asset portfolio in that region, enabling us to concentrate on developing several key projects and getting maximum performance out of them," he said in a statement.
Zilbermints said PetroMonagas had set a target production level of 149,000 barrels of oil per day for 2013, compared to a 137,000 bpd level this year.
The joint venture serves as the operator of a 71-square-mile block north of the Orinoco River in Venezuela.
Venezuela has some of the largest deposits of crude oil in the world. The Orinoco belt is considered one of the biggest reserve fields outside of the Middle East.