Report: Venezuelan Oil Production by Private Operators Falls to 461,000b/d

The 32 operating agreements between Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA and private oil companies are currently producing a total 461,000 barrels a day of crude, down from 550,000b/d earlier this year, newspaper El Universal reported.

Production under the agreements started falling in December 2004, after the CVP subsidiary of PDVSA told private operators that this year's investment budgets would be limited by PDVSA, the paper reported.

Venezuela's government also announced early this year that all operators must sign agreements to migrate their contracts to new joint ventures controlled by PDVSA by December 31 or face having their assets seized by the state company.

A total of 15 companies with 26 operating agreements have so far signed preliminary deals to migrate to the new JVs, leaving five companies in six agreements still holding out ahead of the December 31 deadline.

PVDSA president Rafael Ramírez, who is also Venezuela's energy and oil minister, issued a public appeal for the five companies that have not yet signed to follow in the footsteps of the 15 that have.

The latest production figure comes from documents presented during a meeting between PDVSA and the operators, the newspaper reported.

Ramírez told BNamericas in November that some operators that have not migrated to the JVs are reducing production on purpose in an effort to pressure Venezuela into granting them more favorable conditions.

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