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Venezuela’s Petroleum Sales, Export Volume Down in 1985

December 27, 1985

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) _ Venezuela’s oil revenues dropped almost 19 percent in 1985 over the previous year while export volumes fell 10 percent, industry officials announced.

The state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. earned $12.4 billion in petroleum and petrochemical sales, down $2.9 billion from the 1984 figure of $15.3 billion. Export volume went from an average 1.517 million barrels per day in 1984 to 1.365 million barrels per day during the current year.

Petroleos de Venezuela President Brigido Natera gave the information Friday in a year-end speech. He stressed the industry’s results were in line with revised estimates made in August, which predicted $12.9 billion in income and exports averaging 1.356 million barrels daily.

According to Natera, the downward pressure on world oil prices came from ″the sustained weakness of the market, aggravated by the steadily increasing production of non-OPEC countries and the end of the coal miners’ strike in the United Kingdom.′

The state company had originally hoped to earn $13.7 billion in 1985, based upon sales of 1.410 million barrels daily at an average price of $26.57 per barrel.

Although Natera did not specifically mention the average per-barrel price of Venezuelan oil in 1985, sales results indicate it was $25.89 per barrel, down 81 cents from last year.

Natera said that during the year, exploration had increased Venezuela’s total proven reserves of crude oil by 1.9 billion barrels over the previous level of 28 billion barels.

While the country’s production capability remained about the same, at 2.577 million barrels daily, sales of petroleum and natural gas to the internal market increased slightly, from 502,000 barrels per day last year to 505,000 barrels in 1985.

Prior to Natera’s speech, Minister of Energy and Mines Arturo Hernandez Grisanti met with PdV’s stockholder’s assembly and afterwards announced the oil industry’s projected budget for 1986.

He said the average per barrel price for Venezuelan oil is expected to be $24.50 in 1986, and exports to be 1.410 million barrels per day, the same volume originally predicted for 1985.

If reached, these sales levels would provide Venezuela with $12.6 billion in oil income, a hopeful prediction given the current world oil market situation. Hernandez insisted that the projected average price is ″simply a scenario on which to base the internal budget and the national budget.″

″We all know that no one can predict what the price of Venezuelan oil will be in 1986, in such an agitated market,″ Hernandez said.

The Energy minister told reporters the loss in Venezuela’s oil sales in 1985 were due in part to the closing of the Exxon refinery on Aruba, to which Venezuela supplied 180,000 barrel daily, and to the shutdown of the Curacao Shell refinery, to which PdV supplied 120,000 barrels.

In November, Venezuela took over the refinery under a 5-year, $11 million lease from the Netherlands Antilles government. Hernandez said company will ship 190,000 barrels a day to the plant in 1986.

Also in the coming year, Venezuela will increase sales to the Ruhr Oil refinery in West Germany - which it jointly owns with Veba Oel - from 100,000 to 140,000 barrels per day.

Crude oil production in 1986 is expected to equal Venezuela’s OPEC quota of 1.555 million barrels daily. Meanwhile, production of condensates is set at 115,000 barrels daily liquid natural gas at 107,000 barrels per day, for a daily production total of 1.777 million barrels.

Hernandez said new projects in 1986 will include a gas pipeline in eastern Venezuela, an increase of natural gas production and conversion of existing refineries into deep-conversion plants.

He told reporters the strategy is to diminish production of residual fuel and increase the exports of distillates, gasoline, naphthas and other light products with greater market value.

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