Venezuela Says Oil Output Topped More Than 1 Million Barrels a Day

(Bloomberg) — Venezuela says it’s pumping the most oil since harsh U.S. sanctions strangled state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA more than two years ago. Not everyone believes it.

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PDVSA, as the Caracas-based explorer is known, reported more than 1 million barrels of daily output in a Dec. 24 Twitter post. The figure appeared to represent a specific 24-hour period rather than the typical metric of a monthly average — an important distinction given that industry observers are focused on sustained levels of higher output rather than temporary spikes.

On a full-month basis, the number would represent a 21% increase over November and also would be the highest since early 2019, when tougher sanctions crippled PDVSA’s access to the U.S. market.

“While the trend in production has been positive, PDVSA is unlikely to sustain production at 1 million barrels a day,” said Fernando Ferreira, a director of geopolitical risk at Rapidan Energy Advisors. “The industry remains dilapidated, so higher volumes are likely to increase the incidence of already-frequent accidents and breakdowns.”

The production spike came after PDVSA increased imports of a key ingredient used to dilute sludgy domestic crude and boost its own production of hydrocarbons. Iran, another nation hit by U.S. sanctions, has supplied at least three cargoes of condensate to Venezuela this year.

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