In the middle of the 21st century, Venezuela’s oil industry regressed 77 years to the point where crude oil production fell to historic lows that are reminiscent of 1943.
OPEC reports revealed that in June, oil production fell to record lows. According to data from June, the South American country only produced 393,000 barrels per day (BPD), which is 52% less than the average of 821,000 BPD in the first quarter.
According to economist Francisco Monaldi, director of the Latin American Energy Program at the Baker Institute in Houston, Venezuela’s oil production is reaching the level the country had in 1929.
“Venezuela’s oil production is nearing the level we had in 1929, and per capita production is closer to what we had almost 100 years ago. Moreover, we should be producing more than four million barrels per day. In other words, we produce less than 10% of what we should,” he said on Twitter.
Exports also declined along with oil production owing to the deteriorating condition of Venezuela’s refineries and the sanctions levied by the Trump administration to pressure Nicolás Maduro’ s exit.
The regime blames state sanctions for the drop in production, but since 2016, before the imposition of measures from Washing D.C., there has been a downturn due to years of disinvestment and mismanagement.
In October 2019, Nicolás Maduro’s regime announced that it hoped to increase oil production to 1.6 million barrels per day- yet another unfulfilled promise.
A Reuters report revealed that this week, the regime resumed gasoline production at the Cardón refinery, the only one that will be operating in the country with the largest oil reserves in the world.
Cuba and Asia are key destinations for Venezuelan oil
Earlier, the largest buyer of Venezuelan crude oil was the United States, which represented 37% of the South American country’s oil exports. Now, most of the oil is sent to Asia but with limitations.
In June, it was revealed that India’s largest private refinery decided to stop buying Venezuelan oil to avoid international sanctions.
In September, shipments to China fell 75% after the China National Petroleum Corp. rejected Venezuelan oil for the second month due to U.S. sanctions.
However, an AP report revealed that Cuba, China, and India replaced the United States as the key destination for Venezuelan heavy crude oil.
These destinations account for 37% of all trips from Venezuela in the year since the sanctions were imposed, although fuel traffic to these three countries fell by about 20% in that period, according to a report by C4ADS and IBI Consultants, two Washington-based think tanks working on national security issues.
“According to AP, nine countries, including Bahrain, South Africa, and Portugal, have emerged as new destinations for Venezuelan oil between 2019 and 2020, that had not been registered the previous year.