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Venezuelan Crude Exports, Production Drop

Oil

Venezuelan crude exports to the US dropped 33.2% to 503K b/d during the last four weeks compared with the same period last year, according to the US Energy Information Administration. For the week ending 24 November, Venezuela exported 339K b/d to the US, down 27% or 123K b/d w-o-w and 53% or 374K b/d y-o-y. Crude shipments to China also dropped by 14.9% or 36K b/d y-o-y, to 207K b/d.

Lower Venezuelan crude exports are partly caused by declining domestic production. The country’s oil output hit a 28-year low in October at 1.86M b/d, down 10% m-o-m, after falling by about 20K b/d per month since October 2016, while output was 109K b/d below its OPEC output target.

The drop in Venezuela’s oil production is linked to the country’s financial struggles amidst US sanctions, which do not allow state-owned PDVSA sufficient funds to drill wells and maintain existing infrastructure. Venezuela’s oil production is set to fall by at least 250K b/d in 2017, and 300K b/d in 2018, according to OPEC.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro threatened this week to cut crude exports to the US in response to sanctions, Reuters reports. The majority of Venezuela's oil production facilitates debt obligations with China and Russia, therefore should exports to the US continue to drop, the country will gradually lose one of the few crude export destinations that generates cash flows.