Venezuela’s Oil Production Sinks To 300,000 b/d

(Argus, 3.Jul.2020) — Venezuela kicked off July with only around 300,000 b/d of crude production and no oil rigs in operation, according to a series of internal operation reports from state-owned PdV.

The production level is the Opec country’s lowest in close to nine decades, with the exception of a two-month oil strike in December 2002-January 2003.

Venezuela produced around 780,000 b/d in July 2019, according to Argus estimates.

The PdV reports confirm that the main reason why production has fallen across the company’s joint ventures in the Orinoco heavy oil belt and its mature eastern and western divisions is a lack of storage capacity. This in turn reflects PdV’s struggle to export its oil because of US sanctions, as well as reduced demand because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Other problems cited in the reports are a lack of diluent required to blend with 8-10°API Orinoco crude, equipment breakdowns and electricity outages.

PdV’s main upstream partners are Chevron, China’s CNPC, European firms Repsol and Eni and an opaque Russian state-owned entity that took over Rosneft’s Venezuelan assets in March 2020.