Once a major OPEC producer, Venezuela has witnessed a spectacular fall in oil production over the last 20 years under Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro. In 2019, U.S. sanctions hastened this decline. Will Venezuela ever reclaim its place as a top oil producer?
Lisa Viscidi and Nate Graham spoke with S&P Global Platts about the findings of a new report which argues that Western oil companies will be needed to revive Venezuela’s oil sector. They discuss the obstacles that could affect whether these firms increase production in the country under a new government, including US sanctions uncertainty, high taxes, and a shortage of workers and working infrastructure.
With Venezuela’s state oil company in disarray, international oil companies will be the key to tapping the country’s oil resources. The Inter-American Dialogue interviewed eight large Western oil companies about the conditions that will determine how rapidly, and to what degree, they start or ramp up operations in Venezuela following a political transition.
Brazil has vast oil reserves, but can the Bolsonaro government get the energy to market? Lisa Viscidi tells Richard Miles of CSIS that reforms are already in place that will enable oil production “to take off.” The real obstacles are the financial stability of Petrobras, the shaky state oil conglomerate, and the monopoly that the state has on most aspects of energy production, delivery, and even retail sales.
Energy Program Director Lisa Viscidi went on CGTN to discuss the latest developments in the increasingly international debate over how to peacefully resolve the crisis in embattled Venezuela.
Energy Program Director Lisa Viscidi spoke with CGTN about US sanctions on Venezuela and the effects they are having, both in terms of raising the pressure on Nicolás Maduro and heightening the risk of deepening the country’s humanitarian crisis.
Even if Juan Guaido or another opposition figure finally takes the reins and starts fixing the oil sector in Venezuela, it will take years before oil exports can provide the economic boost needed to pull the nation out of the morass. Venezuela’s oil industry has been severely damaged, and there are questions about the long-term economic viability of its oil fields. Venezuelans will likely be disappointed with the pace of the economic turnaround under any new government—a risk that poses a real threat to political stability. Expectations ought to be tempered.
Could Venezuela’s oil production decline even more steeply? Three evolving developments will largely determine the answer: whether creditors can seize assets in compensation for default, whether large numbers of oil workers continue to abandon their jobs, and whether the United States and other countries impose additional sanctions.
President Trump’s sanctions strategy against Venezuela remains committed but ineffectual, and banning a smallish band of regime loyalists from traveling to the United States will do little to change that.