Petróleos de Venezuela

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Petróleos de Venezuela SA

legal form State company
founding 1975
Seat Caracas , VenezuelaVenezuelaVenezuela 
management Manuel Quevedo Simón Zerpa
Number of employees 146,226 (2017)
sales 12 billion US dollars (2015)
Branch Petroleum, natural gas
As of August 4, 2017

The Petroleos de Venezuela SA ( PDVSA [peðeβesa] ) ( to German : Petroleum of Venezuela) is the largest oil company in Latin America and Venezuela's largest exporter. It was founded in 1976 as part of the nationalization of the country's oil industry and is known under the acronym Petroven. The company is based in Caracas and is managed by Eulogio del Pino (President). In 2013, the company employed 140,626 people and generated a total turnover of 12 billion US dollars .

Production and reserves

The PDVSA extracts oil mainly in the Orinoco belt and near Maracaibo , the second largest city in Venezuela. Until 2006 a bitumen-water emulsion, so-called Orimulsion, was produced. Production was stopped for ecological , economic , technical and political reasons. In addition, natural gas and coal are extracted and petrochemicals are produced. Petróleos de Venezuela refines oil, explores new sources and markets raw materials and products.

According to its annual report, PDVSA produced 2.7 million barrels of crude oil per day in 2015, which corresponds to the majority of Venezuela's total production of 3.15 million; the maximum funding potential is given as 3.6 million. However, the figures for both production and capacity are given much lower even by OPEC . The reserves are currently stated at over 298 billion barrels (2015).

In spring 2018, oil production in Venezuela was around 1.5 million barrels per day, around half of the production in 2005; a further decline was expected and would mean an oil production rate at the level of the late 1940s. In March 2019, production was below a million barrels per day, while power outages and breakdowns in the processing of the viscous Venezuelan oil required for transport made exports in April completely unlikely.

Corporate development

PDVSA had 2007 consolidated sales of US $ 96.2 billion (2006: US $ 99.3 billion) and an operating profit ( EBIT ) of US $ 25.9 billion (2006: US $ 23.5 billion) ), 2007 net income was US $ 6.3 billion, after deducting a US $ 14.1 billion levy for the country's social projects and corporate income tax of US $ 5.0 billion. In 2015, sales were still at US $ 12 billion, which can be explained by the drop in oil production and the collapse of Venezuela's economy.

Observers see the danger that the company will no longer have enough funds to invest in its own production facilities due to the high taxes paid to the state in order to maintain the current level of subsidies. According to the PDVSA's annual report, the total production of crude oil in 1997 was 2.4 million barrels per day and has increased to 3.1 million in 2006 and 3.15 million in 2007.

In 2007 the company was nationalized. The company's earnings had to be transferred to the government, which left no room for investment. Due to inefficiency, oil production sank to 2.7 million barrels a day by 2015, also because the Venezuelan government had replaced a large part of the management staff with loyalists. In 2017, due to the lack of money, PDVSA could no longer afford to transport oil across international waters. Production fell to an estimated 700,000 barrels per day by the International Energy Agency by August 2018, barely a third of the amount two and a half years earlier.

In early November 2017, Venezuelan creditors applied to the New York City- based derivatives organization International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) to formally determine that PDVSA had defaulted, which would give holders of credit default swaps (CDS) money. Measured in terms of the CDS premium, the market already assumed Venezuela's payment default in November 2017. The ISDA postponed the decision on the determination of a payment default in Venezuela to November 13, 2017. The government invited the creditors to a conference in Caracas on that day to negotiate a debt restructuring. Most of the creditors in the USA and Canada were not expected to arrive. At the same time, the European Union wants to adopt punitive measures against Venezuela. The government itself lamented the missed investments, only in their eyes the fault was abroad, from which the "imperialist enemy", according to Maduro, had infiltrated the PDVSA with mafia-like forces who "deliberately refrained from investing in the oil industry in order to destroy it" . The former general of the National Guard and boyfriend of Diosdado Cabello from a young age Manuel Quevedo became head of the oil company and also oil minister in November 2017. The two previous presidents of the Society, Nelson Martinez and Eulogio Del Pino, were arrested on charges of embezzlement during Maduro's rule in 2017; Martinez died in autumn 2018. A trial had not started until the end of 2018.

In the spring of 2018, there was a presumption that Venezuelan crude oil not only had to be exported for a large part of the state finances, but that the future production had also been pledged several times. In December 2018, the head of the largest Russian creditor, Rosneft , Igor Sechin , traveled to Venezuela to find out why the deliveries were also delayed. According to a Reuters research, the mixing of soldiers from the National Guard with the management of the company was catastrophic for the company, but President Maduro himself had declared in 2018 that he preferred the military because they were closer to the socialist worldview than capitalist professionals.

The inflow of American dollars from the USA, which was vital for the Maduro government via PDVSA at the beginning of 2019, was capped by the Trump administration on January 28, when it was decreed that payments could no longer go to the oil company PDVSA, but should be transferred to blocked accounts had to.

At the beginning of March 2019 it was announced that PDVSA would relocate its European headquarters from Lisbon to Moscow and in the future bring more oil to the Russian Federation and via Russia to the world markets, with the Russian oil company Rosneft expanding its involvement in Venezuela, which in fact means that Rosneft the collection for the sanctioned PDVSA took over, the payments of Venezuelan oil thus (profitably) ran through Rosneft.


Citgo gas station in the USA
Sponsorship of the HVM Racing Team at the US IndyCar Series
  • Citgo Petroleum Corporation, USA 100%: PDVSA acquired a 50% share in the gasoline distributor Citgo in 1986; In 1990 the remaining 50% were acquired. Since then, PDVSA has been a major supplier of gasoline and other petroleum products in the United States.
  • Nynäs Petroleum , Sweden 50% (the remaining 50% is owned by Neste Oil ).
  • Bahamas Oil Refining Company (BORCO), PDVSA owns their oil tank storage terminal.
  • Hovensa LLC Refinery, US Virgin Islands , joint venture with Amerada Hess Corp.
  • Isla Refinery, Curacao , leased

In addition, from 1983 to 2010 a 50% stake in Ruhr Oel GmbH was held, a joint venture with BP Germany (originally with VEBA Oel AG), which operates four refineries across Germany ( in Gelsenkirchen , Neustadt an der Donau , Karlsruhe and Schwedt / Oder ) and two petrochemical plants (Gelsenkirchen and Münchsmünster ). In October 2010, PDVSA sold its stake to the Russian state oil company Rosneft for $ 1.6 billion .

In May 2017, Goldman Sachs acquired the company's speculative bonds from Venezuela's central bank for $ 2.8 billion.

General strike 2002

In 2000, holidays abroad were still normal for the well-paid and respected refinery workers.

On December 2, 2002, the umbrella trade union federation CTV - which was closely tied to the old governments - called a general strike together with business associations to force the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to resign.

The government accused the strikers of sabotage : private companies, which were responsible for the IT and computer control of the oil production, had joined the strike. In particular, employees of such companies were able to largely bring Venezuela's oil production to a standstill by shutting down the production facilities using software commands. The economic damage caused by the alleged sabotage of oil production amounted to eight to ten billion dollars. As a result, gross domestic product fell by 8.9 percent in 2002 and by 9.4 percent in 2003. It took until April 2003 before all major oil production facilities could be put back into operation.

Party members loyal to the line replaced around half of the PDVSA workforce after the strike, 18,000 employees, most of them managers, executives and specialists, lost their jobs.

Oil to fund charity

Since 2003, income from the state PDVSA has been used to finance social programs in Venezuela. At the same time, the oil industry had to supply friendly countries such as Nicaragua and Cuba at preferential prices. On the initiative of Hugo Chávez, the PDVSA and the government of the US state of Massachusetts even agreed in November 2005 on a project that would provide those in need in Boston with heating oil at 40% discount during the winter months via the subsidiary of PDVSA based in the USA, Citgo let. Other contracts were signed with states and cities in the northeastern United States, such as the New York Bronx , Maine , Rhode Island , Pennsylvania , Vermont and Delaware . The program had a volume of 1.2 million barrels . In the following winters of 2006/2007 and 2007/2008, PDVSA / Citgo also supported those in need in the USA with heating oil that was 40% cheaper. In the winter of 2007/2008 the program had a volume of 425.6 million liters.

Nationalization of oil fields

In 2007, foreign oil companies had to sell parts of their shares in oil fields in Venezuela to the Venezuelan state, so that PDVSA came to a majority stake of at least 60%. ExxonMobil had refused to sell its shares and sued against it in courts in the US, UK and the Netherlands. After a UK court freeze PDVSA's assets of $ 12 billion in February 2008, PDVSA stopped selling crude oil to Exxon and suspended business.

However, in March 2008, that court lifted sanctions against the PDVSA, including freezing $ 12 billion in assets. In addition, Exxon must reimburse PDVSA for the litigation costs. The judge ruled that such sanctions were only common if there was strong evidence of serious international fraud. In this case there would be no evidence of fraud on the part of the Venezuelan oil company. He also found the UK courts not having jurisdiction as the PDVSA is neither a UK company nor has branches or bank accounts in the UK.

Money laundering in the shadow of the PDVSA

The PDVSA has been at the center of massive criminal redistribution for a few years. Profiteers are mainly the nouveau riche in the slipstream of Chavismus, business people and private individuals who are close to the Maduro regime . The hustle and bustle is popularly called “Boliburguesía” - a suitcase word from Bolívar and bourgeoisie . Above all, funds are sent abroad, preferably to Florida and Miami , and invested there in luxury real estate. A $ 1.2 billion money laundering case was uncovered in Miami in 2018, allegedly facilitated by the state-owned oil company PDVSA in a short period of time between 2014 and 2015.


An explosion at the Paraguaná oil refinery triggered by a gas leak killed 48 people and damaged 1,600 homes in August 2012. The security problems have only worsened with the poor economic situation.

Web links

Commons : Petróleos de Venezuela  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Special Report: Oil output goes AWOL in Venezuela as soldiers run PDVSA , Reuters, December 26, 2018; "I want a Socialist PDVSA," the president told allied legislators earlier this year. “An ethical, sovereign and productive PDVSA. We must break this model of the rentier oil company. "
  2. Nómina de Pdvsa sube 170% y bombeo en caída Accessed August 23, 2018 (Spanish)
  3. a b The regime in Caracas is stretching its feelers towards Moscow and Beijing from, accessed on January 30, 2019
  4. Junta Directiva
  5. ¿Cuántos trabajadores laboran en PDVSA?, accessed January 30, 2019 (Spanish)
  6. These are the 15 countries with the largest oil reserves, accessed on August 4, 2017
  7. a b A Swiss solution to Venezuelan-Russian problems? , NZZ, April 5, 2018
  8. Exclusive: Venezuela's PDVSA braces for low output from crucial crude upgraders , Reuters, April 5, 2019
  9. DW-World: Oil boom between wish and reality, November 30, 2006
  10. FTD: Venezuela - Built on Oil ( Memento from February 11, 2013 in the web archive ), Financial Times Deutschland, February 11, 2008
  11. In the OPEC report, the volume produced in 2007 is only given as 2.4 million barrels per day.
  12. OPEC crude oil production based on secondary sources in OPEC's Monthly Oil Market Report for March 2008 ( Memento of the original from November 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. ^ Refugee misery on Venezuela's borders , Radio SRF "Internatinonal", November 3, 2018, minute 12
  14. Venezuela Is So Broke It Can't Even Export Oil. In: Foreign Policy. Retrieved August 6, 2017 .
  15. Venezuela's currency reform failed , NZZ, August 27, 2018, page 20; Quote Maduro: he found a "magic formula"; "Believe me, the plan will work".
  16. Venezuela is getting closer to default Accessed August 23, 2018
  17. Decision on Venezuela's default postponed. In: , November 10, 2017, accessed on November 21, 2017.
  18. ^ Refugee misery on Venezuela's borders , Radio SRF "Internatinonal", November 3, 2018
  19. a b c How socialism is stifling the oil industry in Venezuela , NZZ, October 24, 2018
  20. Maduro sends his general , NZZ, November 27, 2019
  21. Junta Directiva
  22. "And it will be the same with the loans": What Russia will lose in Venezuela in the event of a coup The Bell, January 24, 2019
  23. USA issues sanctions against important oil sector , SRF, January 29, 2019
  24. President Maduro sits on 16 tankers full of oil - and doesn't get them sold , of March 2, 2019
  25. Venezuela to move state oil firm PDVSA office from Lisbon to Moscow , Reuters, March 1, 2019
  26. Reuters: Rosneft helps Venezuela bypass US sanctions , Novaya Gazeta, April 19, 2019 (Russian)
  27. Kejal Vyas, Anatoly Kurmanaev: Goldman Sachs Bought Venezuela's State Oil Company's Bonds Last Week . In: Wall Street Journal . May 29, 2017, ISSN  0099-9660 ( [accessed August 6, 2017]).
  28. cf. Dario Azzellini: Venezuela Bolivariana , p. 52 f. and p. 86 f.
  29. Financial Statement of Venezuela's State Oil Company Shows Profits Up by 44% Gregory Wilpert, October 3, 2006
  30. Cheap heating oil for 16 US states , December 13, 2007
  31. Spiegel-Online: Venezuela cuts Exxon's oil supply from February 13, 2008
  32. legal victory against Exxon, March 18th 2008, Venezuela currently
  33. Al Jazeera: ExxonMobil loose Venezuela case from March 19, 2008
  34. How Venezuela is being plundered Accessed August 21, 2018
  35. Two Members of Billion-Dollar Venezuelan Money Laundering Scheme Arrested Accessed on August 23, 2018 (English)
  36. Marianna Parraga: Chaos, demands for answers after Venezuela refinery blast . In: Reuters UK . ( [accessed August 6, 2017]).