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Venezuelan oil production, ravaged by years of steep declines, has "stabilized" as state-owned company PDVSA advances plans to resume operations at inactive wells, according to the government.
In a statement, oil minister Manuel Quevedo (pictured) said PDVSA and its partners pumped 1.5Mb/d from local fields in the first half of 2018, halting a three-year freefall that wiped more than 1Mb/d off daily output
Data from OPEC secondary sources showed that Venezuelan oil production dipped to 1.34Mb/d in June – the lowest monthly volume in almost 70 years, excluding a 2002-03 strike.
Analysts blame the collapse on corruption, government interference and international sanctions that have crippled PDVSA and forced foreign producers to flee. The government has accused the US of leading an economic war against the South American country, which relies on oil production for 95% of its export revenue.
"We are reactivating inactive fields, mature fields and fields where production has been deferred due to the outside sabotage of logistics," Quevedo said.
He added that PDVSA is pushing ahead with "alternative commercialization" plans to sidestep sanctions. They include an agreement with China in which the Asian nation has agreed to invest US$5bn as well as joint production ventures and service agreements.
Meanwhile, Quevedo said that PDVSA is working to settle a dispute with ConocoPhillips that threatens to disrupt the company's exports.
"It's important to emphasize the positive results achieved in our meetings [with ConocoPhillips]," he said. "Discussions have been filled with debate in which we have defended our interests."