Chevron has boosted oil production at its joint venture with Venezuela’s PDVSA to the highest in almost a year, Bloomberg reports, adding that the Maduro government is considering giving foreign oil field operators more control over their joint business with PDVSA as a way of advertising Venezuela’s oil industry and increasing revenues.
“The likely goal is to make it so attractive, companies start to lobby harder in the U.S.,” Bloomberg quoted an analyst from a Colombia-based consultancy as saying.
At the moment, Chevron is the only U.S. company still doing oil business in Venezuela. The supermajor was granted a sanction exemption waiver by Washington and the waiver was last month extended until April.
Petroboscan, the joint venture Chevron operates together with PDVSA, produced around 200,000 bpd as of October 2019, with Chevron’s share of this at 34,000 bpd. The U.S. supermajor holds a 30-percent stake in the venture.
Chevron reported losses of $104 million related to its business in Venezuela for the first nine months of last year. Yet if the Treasury Department stops granting it sanction waivers, Chevron would have to leave the country, which would cost it $2.7 billion in assets.
Washington would not want this to happen, according to analysts. If Chevron leaves, Chinese companies and Rosneft will fill the gap, expanding their already significant influence in the country with the world’s largest oil reserves at the expense of U.S. influence.
Besides the Petroboscan venture, Chevron also operates the Petropiar heavy crude upgrader with PDVSA, along with two other projects. Operations at Petropiar were suspended for a time, but now production is back on track with the daily average at 130,000 bpd, Bloomberg cited unnamed sources as saying.
This higher production contributed to Venezuela’s 100,000-bpd increase in overall production in January, according to the S&P Global Platts monthly survey of OPEC production. The struggling country’s daily average reached the highest in a year last month, at 820,000 bpd.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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