Very usefull links


News links




Dow Jones

Oil price



Views and News





Venezuela's shrinking PDVSA crude output nears 1mn b/d


By Argus

Petroleumworld 06 14 2018

Venezuela has begun to proactively shut in oil production to cope with nearly replete terminal storage, further accelerating an output decline and bringing the Opec country closer to the psychological barrier of 1mn b/d.

According to energy ministry official data communicated to Opec, Venezuela produced 1.533mn b/d of crude in May, up by 28,000 b/d from 1.505mn b/d in April.

Average production cited by secondary sources published by Opec pegged Venezuela's May output at 1.392mn b/d, down by 42,500 b/d from 1.434mn b/d in April. Argus estimates May production at around 1.45mn b/d.

State-owned PdV officials consulted by Argus privately dismissed the official tally showing an increase in Venezuela's output last month.

Two PdV upstream executives say that May production averaged about 1.44mn b/d or 93,000 b/d less than the energy ministry's official figure of 1.533mn b/d.

So far in June, the outlook for Venezuelan production is grimmer. Venezuela was producing about 1.5mn b/d at the start of May, including roughly about 800,000 b/d in the Orinoco oil belt and a combined 700,000 b/d in the company's eastern and western divisions. But output in early June has dropped to 1.1mn-1.2mn b/d, according to three PdV officials.

"Eastern division land-based storage of 11mn bl is at full capacity, and western division storage capacity of almost 48mn bl will be filled to its operational capacity in a question of days," the western division executive said.

It was not immediately clear where PdV is closing taps to manage the storage restrictions.

An output decline to about 1.1mn b/d in June, the lowest monthly level in nearly 70 years, is "not unrealistic given current circumstance and restrictions on PdV's operations," the executive added.

A senior energy ministry official, a frequent government critic, says the gaps with the official data in May are a "reflection of increasing presidential palace pressures" on energy minister and PdV chief executive Manuel Quevedo to reverse Venezuela's upstream decline.

PdV management is inflating Venezuela's official data "to hide the truth of PdV's production debacle from President (Nicolas) Maduro, the country and oil markets," the ministry official said.

The main driver behind Venezuela's sharper production decline in recent weeks is the cutoff of PdV's Dutch Caribbean logistical assets because of a set of debt-related liens imposed by ConocoPhillips early last month.

The dispute has led to a backlog of up to 30mn bl of crude exports which would normally flow through the Dutch Caribbean corridor, often for transshipment onto larger vessels for long-haul destinations. PdV's local terminal and assets of a combined 61mn bl are "filled nearly to capacity," the ministry official added. Another PdV executive confirmed that storage is almost full.

Another factor behind the latest decline is a cutback in activity by PdV and its foreign joint venture partners in the Orinoco oil belt, because of unpaid debt and fears of running afoul of US financial sanctions. A labor exodus at PdV has added to the toxic mix for Venezuela's upstream operations.

Venezuela produced more than 3mn b/d of crude in the 1990s.


Twitter: @petroleumworld1

Hit your target - Advertise with Us

Reporting by from Argus. 06 12 2018

We invite all our readers to share with us
their views and comments about this article.
Write to

By using this link, you agree to allow PW
to publish your comments on our letters page.

Any question or suggestions,
please write to:

Best Viewed with IE 5.01+ Windows NT 4.0, '95,
'98,ME,XP, Vista, Windows 7,8,10 +/ 800x600 pixels

Twitter: @petroleumworld1

November 13 - 15, 2018.

Gubkin University, Moscow
SPE Student Chapter









Editor & Publisher:Elio Ohep/
Contact Email:

CopyRight © 1999-2016, Paul Ohep F. - All Rights Reserved. Legal Information

PW in Top 100 Energy Sites

CopyRight©1999-2017, Petroleumworld   / Elio Ohep - All rights reservedThis site is a public free site and it contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of business, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have chosen to view the included information for research, information, and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission fromPetroleumworld or the copyright owner of the material.