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Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA has got new management that plans to boost production of crude to 1.17 million barrels daily by the end of the year, Reuters has reported, citing an internal document.
As of April, PDVSA was producing over 800,000 bpd - the first time it had topped the 800,000-bpd mark in more than a year.
Per plans, oil production should rise by 390,000 bpd by the end of the year and gas production should also increase, to some 645 million cubic feet daily to a total of 2.27 billion cubic feet.
The new management is part of a major shakeup at the state oil company that has also involved anti-corruption investigations and a comprehensive audit of the company’s operations.
The audit revealed PDVSA has some $21 billion in accounts receivable from oil sales abroad. The value of Venezuela’s oil exports was $25.27 billion between January 2020 and March 2023.
Yet documents provided to Venezuela’s attorney general during the audit of PDVSA contracts showed that the state oil firm could only confirm the receipt of just $4.08 billion of this, according to the documents Reuters has reviewed.
Earlier this year, PDVSA began demanding advance payments for its oil in order to avoid accumulating so many dues—the review of contracts had already begun by that point.
A month earlier, in December 2022, the Biden administration granted Chevron a six-month license to restart its operations in Venezuela and the April pick-up in production reflects that restart, too.
The supermajor has plans to ship some 400,000 bpd to 500,000 bpd of oil from Venezuela but is facing technical difficulties in doing that. PDVSA has to dredge an inlet in order to enable to free movement of tankers but the company has not got the funds for the operation.
Meanwhile, demand for Venezuelan crude remains high among Gulf Coast refiners as they have lost access to comparable Russian grades and wildfires in Alberta have shrunk the supply of Canadian heavy crude.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com