Venezuelan oil production down to 2.3 mm bpd

Dec 23, 2009 01:00 AM

Figures from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) show a decrease in oil production in Venezuela. According to the latest OPEC report, local oil production in November stood at 2 mm 317,000 bpd, lower than 2 mm 329,000 bpd in October.
However, the OPEC figures suggest that production has tended to decline throughout the year, with the lowest level in April, May and June, when average oil output was 2.3 mm barrels. However, in 2009, OPEC results, which are based on data supplied by secondary sources, reveal that the average output has been 2.3 mm barrels, below the 2008 figures, when production averaged 2.48 barrels.

The financial and operational report of Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) at the end of the first half of this year stated that the total production of oil and natural gas stood at 3.58 mm barrels. Out of that overall figure, 3.2 mm barrels are oil, which is 186,000 barrels lower than the average in the first half of 2008.
According to the report, the decline is due to production cuts agreed under the OPEC that forced Venezuela to stop pumping 364,000 barrels, thus lowering production to an average of 3.11 mm barrels early this year.

However, analysts argue that the operational problems with heavy crude upgraders at the Orinoco Oil Belt, extensive nationalizations in the oil services sector in May and the fact that some companies stopped operations because of PdVSA's failure to pay debts have taken a heavy toll in the Venezuelan oil production level.
PdVSA accumulated accounts receivable in the first half of this year are $ 8.1 bn higher than $ 7.5 bn last year. This forced the conglomerate to develop a payment schedule tied to a reduction in company rates.

Further, based on the OPEC data, Saudi Arabia output was 8.1 mm barrels, Iran 3.7 mm and Iraq 2.4 mm barrels. Meanwhile, total OPEC production stood at 29 mm bpd.
The group estimated that demand might grow by 800,000 bpd in the coming months.

Drilling
The monthly report released by the organization also shows the number of active rigs worldwide. In November, 55 oilrigs were operational in Venezuela, which is lower than 57 units in October and similar to the level recorded in 2004, when 55 units were operational.
Recently, PdVSA said that 140 drills are operating in the country. Out of this number, 50 are owned by PdVSA and 51 are contracted rigs.

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