Caracas — Crude production by state-owned Venezuelan oil company PDVSA and its international partners almost halved during June to 280,000 b/d because of full storage capacity and the collapse in exports due to US sanctions, according to PDVSA technical reports seen by S&P Global Platts.
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In May Venezuelan oil production was 550,000 b/d, according to the latest Platts survey of OPEC production.
This drop is the largest since 2002 when a strike by PDVSA employees caused much of the company's operations to grind to a halt.
The June plunge was most pronounced in the Orinoco Belt, the country's main oil reservoir, where production slumped by around two thirds in a single month to 90,000 b/d from 280,000 b/d in May.
In June, production from the western fields (Zulia and Trujillo states) was 30,000 b/d and 160,000 b/d from the eastern fields (Monagas state) was, according to technical reports.
Venezuela, with large hydrocarbon reserves, used to be one of the world's main oil producers and exporters, but its oil potential has been falling due to government expropriations, lack of investment and the deterioration of its oil infrastructure.
No production by JVs
PDVSA and its foreign partners have joint ventures in the four main blocks into which the Orinoco Belt is divided -- Carabobo, Ayacucho, Junin and Boyaca.
According to technical reports, in June average crude production from Carabobo was 30,000 b/d, Ayacucho produced 45,000 b/d, Junin 5,000 b/d and Boyaca 10,000 b/d.
As of June 30, the production of extra heavy crude oil by PDVSA's largest joint ventures with international partners in the Orinoco Belt had been completely halted.
According to the report, in the Carabobo block, the 105.000 b/d capacity Petrolera Sinovensa JV (PDVSA 60%, CNPC 40%) and the 120,000 b/d Petromonagas JV (PDVSA 60% Russian government-owned company 40%), produced nothing in June.
Also in the Ayacucho block the 190,000 b/d Petropiar JV (PDVSA 60% Chevron 40%) had shut down production completely as of June 30, the technical report said.
At Junin block, the 202,000 b/d Petrocedeno JV (PDVSA 60% Total/Equinor 40%) has also closed down the production of extra heavy oil.
PDVSA could not be immediately reached for comment and PDVSA's foreign partners are not authorized to speak to the press.