Latest market news

Venezuela oil production on tentative upswing

  • Market: Crude oil, Oil products
  • 04/03/21

Venezuela's crude production has recovered to around 500,000 b/d, mainly from the Orinoco heavy oil belt.

The volume compares to 360,000-390,000 b/d in the second half of 2020, and it is still shy of an average of 650,000 b/d pumped in March last year, according to Argus estimates.

Orinoco production is running close to 350,000 b/d from Venezuelan state-owned PdV's joint ventures with foreign minority partners, including PetroSinovensa with China's state-owned CNPC, PetroPiar with Chevron and PetroMonagas with Russian partners.

The oil belt produces extra heavy crude that must be diluted for transport and blended or upgraded into 16°API Merey for export. Output from the region tends to fluctuate as low-yield well flow rates are adjusted in response to diluent availability as well as storage and export openings.

PdV's mature eastern division is producing more than 100,000 b/d, mostly from PdV's Punta de Mata area, followed by Furrial. The eastern division is also producing about 2.7 Bcf/d of associated natural gas, most of which is flared because of deficient equipment to segregate and process it.

PdV's western division centered on Lake Maracaibo, where data is generally more opaque and operating conditions are especially precarious, is producing the balance.

Dark cash

The Venezuelan company's depressed refinery runs are only around 100,000 b/d, and crude exports, thwarted by US sanctions since early 2019, have been fluctuating around tanker availability, itself a function of improvised local efforts.

"People who are owed money by PdV are told to find a vessel, a broker, to export crude and from the sale they can get paid. Or else they are offered fuel oil or scrap metal. This is happening every day," a former senior PdV official says.

The production uptick will be difficult for the Opec country to sustain, multiple local industry sources routinely say, citing longstanding challenges such as labor flight, electricity shortages, equipment theft and a lack of specialized services. On the labor front, PdV has been paying bonuses to a small group of skilled workers and private oilfield service contractors.

"The cash bonuses have been a positive incentive but are being paid only to select repair crews and not all PdV oilfield workers," a senior oil union official tells Argus. "This unequal situation is creating more tensions within the oil industry's workforce."

PdV's average monthly wage paid in cash since a new collective contract was signed on 19 February is less than $3 in cash per worker, plus a further roughly $50 monthly in transportation and food subsidies. Venezuela's crippled economy is suffering from hyperinflation. PdV generates sparse revenue from oil sales, because of oil-backed debts mainly to China and steep discounts. Venezuela's US-backed political opposition says the government of President Nicolas Maduro is raising cash from illicit gold sales carried out through the UAE with Russian logistical help, and is demanding more sanctions.


Sharelinkedin-sharetwitter-sharefacebook-shareemail-share

Related news posts

Argus illuminates the markets by putting a lens on the areas that matter most to you. The market news and commentary we publish reveals vital insights that enable you to make stronger, well-informed decisions. Explore a selection of news stories related to this one.

News
18/07/24

Australia’s Santos delays FID on Dorado oil field

Australia’s Santos delays FID on Dorado oil field

Sydney, 18 July (Argus) — Australian independent Santos will now target a 2025 final investment decision (FID) on its 80pc-owned Dorado oil project in Western Australia (WA), after deferring it in 2022 and last year indicating a 2024 decision. Dorado's 10pc stakeholder Australian independent Carnarvon Energy said the joint venture (JV) will evaluate a lower capital expenditure (capex) option by reducing capacity below the previously guided 75,000-100,000 b/d and phasing development wells, targeting front-end engineering and design re-entry later in 2024 "once the JV secures the best option vessel or hull". Carnarvon said overall capex prior to the first oil from the offshore field will now be below its previous guidance of $2bn. Dorado JV's other shareholder is Taiwan's state-owned CPC with 10pc. Santos reported higher April-June oil and gas output than the previous quarter on 18 July, with production from the 7.8mn t/yr Gladstone LNG (GLNG) in Queensland state up on a year earlier. It produced 22.2mn bl of oil equivalent (boe), up by 2pc from 21.8mn boe during January-March because of the return of WA's Devil Creek gas plant following a maintenance shutdown, as well as higher liquids production following cyclone-related disconnections during January-March. But output was 3pc below the year-earlier figure of 22.8mn boe. GLNG is on track to swap 18PJ (480mn m³) of gas into the domestic market over April-September 2024, Santos said, with the project maintaining its guidance of around 6mn t of LNG shipped for the year to 31 December. Production at the 6.9mn t/yr ExxonMobil-operated PNG LNG in Papua New Guinea (PNG) was down on January-March with natural decline at the Hides field, partially offset by high compression reliability from the Santos-operated Gobe and Kutubu fields. Finalisation of drilling and completion of operations activities at PNG LNG's Angore C1 and C2 wells has been achieved with both wells perforated for production. Angore project teams are now starting tie-in execution with production of 350mn ft³/d (10mn m³/d) expected during October-December. The $4.6bn Barossa backfill project in the Timor Sea is 77pc complete, Santos said, with pipeline testing completed in June and on track for its first gas in July-September 2025 within its cost guidance. Santos' 1.7mn t/yr Moomba carbon capture and storage project in South Australia is mechanically complete and on track to raise injection of Cooper basin gas plant carbon dioxide during July-December. Santos maintained its 2024 production guidance of 84mn-90mn boe and will release its half-year results on 21 August. By Tom Major Santos results Apr-Jun '24 Jan-Mar '24 Apr-Jun '23 y-o-y % ± q-o-q % ± Volumes ('000 t) GLNG (100pc) 1,338 1,649 1,263 6 -19 Darwin LNG (100pc) 0 0 134 100 0 PNG LNG (100pc) 2,001 2,009 2,065 -3 0 Santos' equity share of LNG sales 1,264 1,352 1,333 -5 -7 Financial LNG sales revenue ($mn) 762 901 838 -9 -15 Total sales revenue ($mn) 1,313 1,398 1,336 -2 -6 LNG average realised price ($/mn Btu) 11 13 12 -4 -10 Oil price ($/bl) 89 89 83 7 0 Source: Santos Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Find out more
News

TotalEnergies agrees to sell stake in Nigeria SPDC JV


17/07/24
News
17/07/24

TotalEnergies agrees to sell stake in Nigeria SPDC JV

London, 17 July (Argus) — TotalEnergies has agreed to sell its 10pc stake in Nigeria's SPDC onshore oil and gas joint venture to Africa-focused independent Chappal Energies for $860mn. Other partners in the SPDC joint venture comprise operator Shell with a 30pc interest, state-owned NNPC with 55pc and Italy's Eni with 5pc. Shell agreed to sell its stake in the joint venture to a consortium of five companies for up to $2.4bn in January. That deal remains subject to a due diligence process by regulators. The joint venture's assets include around 50 producing oil and gas fields across 18 licences. TotalEnergies will transfer its 10pc interest and all its rights and obligations in 15 of the licences to Chappal. These licences mainly produce oil and netted TotalEnergies around 14,000 b/d of oil equivalent last year. The other three licences — OML 23, OML 28 and OML 77 — mainly produce gas and account for 40pc of supply to the Nigeria LNG (NLNG) joint venture, in which TotalEnergies has a 15pc stake. TotalEnergies will also transfer its 10pc stake in these licences to Chappal but it will retain "full economic interest" in them, it said. The divestment "allows us to focus our onshore Nigeria presence solely on the integrated gas value chain and is designed to ensure the continuity of feed gas supply to Nigeria LNG in the future", said TotalEnergies' exploration and production president Nicolas Terraz. Chappal specialises in taking over and operating mature fields. It agreed a deal in November last year to acquire Norwegian firm Equinor's stake in Nigeria's OML 128 block, a transaction that was finally approved earlier this month . The company said last month that it is contemplating issuing a bond to raise up to $450mn to help it finance acquisitions. By Jon Mainwaring Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

China’s CNOOC gets record gas results from Bohai well


17/07/24
News
17/07/24

China’s CNOOC gets record gas results from Bohai well

Singapore, 17 July (Argus) — Chinese state-controlled oil firm CNOOC has achieved what it described as record gas production results from a test well at its Longkou 7-1 (LK7-1) oil and gas field in the eastern region of China's Bohai Sea. The LK7-1-1 exploration well could produce almost 1mn m³/d of natural gas and about 210m³/d (1,320 b/d) of crude oil, the company said on 15 July. The former set a record for natural gas tested productivity in the Bohai Sea, according to CNOOC. China produced 123.6bn m³ of natural gas in January-June, up by 6pc from a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS). The country produced 4.15mn b/d of crude in 2023, NBS data showed. The potential output adds to CNOOC's reserves and production in the Bohai Sea, which stood at 1.97mn b/d of oil equivalent (boe/d) and 599,847 boe/d as of the end of 2023, according to CNOOC. The region represents 29pc of the company's total reserves and approximately 32pc of its production. CNOOC, along with other state-controlled firms like PetroChina and Sinopec, dominates China's domestic oil and gas production. CNOOC has also separately started production at an oilfield offshore China. The Wushi 23-5 oilfield development project — located in the Beibu Gulf of the South China Sea — is expected to produce light crude, and achieve peak production of 18,100 boe/d in 2026. "The project will realise full-process recovery and utilisation of the associated gas through integrated natural gas treatment," the company said on 1 July. CNOOC in November 2023 started production at its Bozhong 19-6 condensate gas field in the Bohai bay. The gas field is currently producing an estimated 37,500 boe/d, exceeding an initial expectation of peak production of about 37,000 boe/d, the company said on 11 July. CNOOC in March 2023 discovered the Bozhong 26-6 field with over 100mn t of oil equivalent reserves, also in the Bohai Sea. By Joey Chan Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Aumentan importaciones de combustible en México


16/07/24
News
16/07/24

Aumentan importaciones de combustible en México

Mexico City, 16 July (Argus) — Las importaciones de combustible en México aumentaron en julio de cara a la temporada de viajes de verano e impulsadas por una disminución de la producción nacional en las refinerías de la estatal Pemex. Las importaciones marítimas a México de gasolina, diésel y turbosina, incluidas las importaciones de Pemex y privados, aumentaron un 18pc a aproximadamente 780,000 b/d del 1 al 10 de julio, frente a 663,000 b/d en el mismo periodo de 2023, según datos de Vortexa. Esto se debió principalmente a un aumento del 66pc en los cargamentos de diésel hasta alcanzar 268,000 b/d, ya que la disponibilidad de este combustible en el mercado ilegal probablemente disminuyó, según fuentes del mercado. Los cargamentos de turbosina se cuadriplicaron hasta los 43,000 b/d en el mismo periodo, ya que Pemex reabastece sus inventarios antes de la temporada de viajes aéreos de verano. Las importaciones de combustible a México habían disminuido a principios de este año, después de que la campaña del gobierno para aumentar la producción de refinerías y reducir su dependencia de las importaciones de EE. UU. comenzara a dar sus frutos, aumentando la producción de gasolina y diésel de Pemex en un 32pc y reduciendo sus importaciones hasta un 25pc en marzo. Pero en abril y mayo, el sistema de refinación de Pemex enfrentó varios problemas, desde un incendio en la refinería de Minatitlán hasta un corte de energía importante en la refinería de Tula, lo que llevó los niveles de procesamiento de crudo de Pemex a un mínimo de cinco meses en mayo. Las tasas de operación de las refinerías en junio se publicarán el 26 de julio. Es probable que el procesamiento de crudo haya caído durante el mes pasado debido a operaciones de mantenimiento en dos refinerías, dijo una fuente familiarizada con las operaciones de refinación de Pemex. El mercado tiene sus dudas sobre la posibilidad una fuerte caída en las importaciones de combustible a México, y algunos refinadores de la costa del Golfo de EE. UU. esperan una fuerte y creciente demanda. Además, incluso si la refinería Olmeca de 340,000 b/d iniciara operaciones comerciales este año, es probable que las otras seis refinerías reduzcan sus tasas de utilización, según fuentes del mercado. Recientemente, Pemex comenzó a vender diésel desde la terminal de distribución de la refinería de Olmeca, pero la cantidad es limitada y el combustible se produjo utilizando materia prima destilada en otra planta. La tendencia a la baja en las operaciones de refinado de México podría continuar en julio a pesar de los esfuerzos del gobierno saliente para aumentar la producción nacional. México ha exportado alrededor de 1 millón de b/d de crudo hasta la fecha en julio, un aumento del 20pc frente a los 847,500 b/d en todo junio, según los datos de Vortexa. Esto indica que es probable que las refinerías de Pemex estén operando a tasas más bajas. Las importaciones de combustible de México podrían continuar su tendencia al alza en los próximos meses, pues los gasolineros esperan una mayor demanda de gasolina durante las vacaciones de verano. Los inventarios de gasolina y diésel de Pemex descendieron un 24pc en junio a 6.2 millones de bl, frente a 8.1 millones de bl en junio de 2023, según una respuesta de transparencia de Pemex a una solicitud de Argus . La empresa deberá aumentar sus importaciones si las refinerías no siguen el ritmo de la demanda. Además, las importaciones suelen aumentar en la segunda mitad del año, impulsadas por la demanda de diciembre y la mezcla de gasolina de invierno de menor precio. México importó más gasolina en el segundo semestre del año en 11 de los últimos 12 años y más diésel en ocho de esos mismos años. Juego de unos pocos El mercado de importación de combustible de México se ha limitado a Pemex y a algunas empresas del sector privado durante los últimos tres años del mandato del presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador, y no hay señales de cambio después de las elecciones presidenciales de junio. Se espera que la presidenta electa Claudia Sheinbaum, que tomará el cargo el 1 de octubre, continúe con las políticas nacionalistas de energía de López Obrador, y tendrá aún menos contrapeso que su predecesor tras la contundente victoria de su partido Morena en las elecciones legislativas. Las importaciones de combustible a México se abrieron a empresas del sector privado después de la reforma energética de 2014, pero la secretaría de energía canceló decenas de permisos de importación de combustible en los últimos años. Por Antonio Gozain Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Tanker owner denies Houthi attack in Med


16/07/24
News
16/07/24

Tanker owner denies Houthi attack in Med

London, 16 July (Argus) — The owner of a tanker reported attacked today in the Mediterranean Sea has said there was no such incident. Petronav Ship Management said its tanker, Olvia , was not targeted as claimed by Yemen's Houthi militants. An attack in the Mediterranean would be a big step outside the Houthi's region of operations, which is limited to the area in and around the Bab el-Mandeb strait at the southern end of the Red Sea. The Houthis claimed two other attacks today in the Red Sea, on crude tanker Chios Lion and oil product tanker Bentley I . By Ben Winkley and Bob Wigin Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Generic Hero Banner

Business intelligence reports

Get concise, trustworthy and unbiased analysis of the latest trends and developments in oil and energy markets. These reports are specially created for decision makers who don’t have time to track markets day-by-day, minute-by-minute.

Learn more