Venezuela registered an increase in oil output in January despite the effect of US sanctions on the country’s oil production.
Between Venezuela’s state-owned PDVSA, and various joint ventures operating in the nation’s oil fields, Venezuela produced 487,000 barrels of oil per day last month -- up from 415,000 barrels in December, according to secondary OPEC sources.
Venezuela’s improvement is unexpected, as oil production there has been declining for years.
In 2020, Venezuela’s output declined dramatically. It went from producing 501,000 barrels per day during the first quarter to producing 403,000 barrels during the fourth quarter.
The improvement comes at a time when oil prices are rising internationally. They have increased roughly 20% in 2021, and Citigroup expects prices to increase another 15% during the year.
President Nicolas Maduro announced in January his intention to increase oil output and said his government was planning to boost production to 1.5 million barrels.
Regarding the potential for flexibility of US sanctions, the administration of Joe Biden has not announced changes to the policy of the previous administration.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price recently said that Washington has no intention to open channels of communications with Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza similarly declared Thursday that the Biden administration is maintaining “the same irresponsible speech of the Trump administration.”
As such, there is little expectation that the US will ease the tense relationship that exists between the two nations.
By Jorge Jraissati in Caracas