IEA: Venezuela's Nov Crude Production Falls 92,000b/d on Syncrude Decline

Venezuela's conventional and synthetic crude production totaled 2.61 million barrels a day in November, down from 2.7Mb/d in October, according to a report by the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA).

Conventional crude production rose by some 30,000b/d to 2.14Mb/d from 2.11Mb/d in October, according to the IEA. However, that increase was more than offset by a 19% drop in synthetic crude output to 468,000b/d in November from 576,000b/d the previous month.

Syncrude output from the Petrozuata extra-heavy crude upgrader in the Orinoco belt fell by some 110,000b/d in November due to plant maintenance, but heavy feedstock was reportedly sold in a blend with lighter Mesa crude, the IEA report said.

Petrozuata is operated by a partnership of US oil firm ConocoPhillips and state oil company PDVSA.

Petrozuata reported production difficulties in November due to a combination of labor and technical problems, a situation acknowledged by PDVSA president and energy and oil minister Rafael Ramírez.

To date neither ConocoPhillips nor PDVSA have reported the full resumption of operations.

The IEA report gave no reason for the increase in conventional crude production.

Established after the mid-1970s energy crisis, the IEA's views about the world's energy markets are frequently at odds with those of producing countries, especially those of OPEC members. PDVSA's Ramírez is perhaps one of the biggest critics of the IEA inside OPEC.

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