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Venezuela Oil Falls to $90.09
Venezuela's Ministry of Energy and Petroleum reports that the average price of Venezuelan crude sold by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) during the week ending June 22 fell to $90.09 a barrel from the previous week's $92.06
CARACAS -- Venezuela's weekly oil basket fell $1.97 to $90.09 as oil prices continued to fall in international markets on fears of more economic problems in Greece and Spain, continued high production by OPEC, mainly Saudi Arabia, and the increasing flows out of the US as the Seagate Pipeline was reversed, causing the price of Brent to fall back toward its eventual average below West Texas Intermediate (WTI).
According to figures released by the Venezuela Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, the average price of Venezuelan crude sold by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) during the week ending June 22 fell to $90.09 from the previous week's $92.09.
WTI in New York averaged $82.20 -- down $1.13 -- for the week while Brent crude traded in London averaged $94.27 -- down $3.51 from the previous week.
According to Venezuelan government figures, the average price in 2012 for Venezuela's mix of heavy and medium crude is now $108.73. In 2011, Venezuela averaged $101.04 -- higher than 2010's $72.43, and much higher than 2009’s average price of $57.01, and above the previous historic high set by 2008's $86.49 average.
Benchmark WTI traded on the NYMEX averaged $95.12 for 2011 while Brent averaged $110.80 for the year. So far in 2012, WTI has averaged $99.15 while Brent has averaged $114.65. Prior to 2010, Brent had historically traded below WTI.
Venezuela's basket set its highest weekly average on July 18, 2008, when it hit $126.46 before economies around the world began crashing under the weight of expensive oil and crashing sub-prime debt.
The United States is the largest importer of Venezuela’s oil exports.
In 2008, the United States imported 1.19 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and petroleum products from Venezuela, down from 1.36 million bpd in 2007.
Historically, Venezuela has been one of the most important suppliers of foreign oil to the United States, but that importance has been diminishing, especially under Venezuela President Hugo Chavez. In 1960, Venezuela’s share of U.S. oil imports stood at 50%, but Venezuela now bounces between being the fourth and fifth largest supplier to the US, supplying only 9% of total US oil imports in 2008.
US Department of Energy statistics show that in 2011, Venezuela sold on average only 868,000 barrels per day of crude oil to the United States, Venezuela's lowest volume recorded since 825,000 bpd in 1992.
Despite the cumulative decline, Venezuela remains the fifth largest crude oil and byproducts supplier to the United States.
The list is led by Canada, which exported 2,475,000 bpd, followed by Mexico (1,256,000 bpd); Nigeria (1,174,000 bpd); Saudi Arabia (1,093,000 bpd) and Venezuela. Oil accounts for more than one-third of Venezuela's gross domestic product, more than half of government revenue and about nine-tenths of the country's exports.
In November, a leaked PDVSA report showed that Venezuela was exporting 430,000 barrels a day to China to repay the Asian nation for a $32 billion revolving loan.
Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez claimed on Friday, April 27th that Venezuela now sends 600,000 barrels a day of fuel to China. "We get more for oil that we ship to Asia than we get from oil that we sell to the U.S. and are sending more oil and fuel oil to China as a result," said Ramirez.
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez and Venezuelan Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez have been arguing for a $100 per barrel, saying it is a “fair price” for crude in today’s world.
“It’s a fair price because it would allow us to recover the value of our natural resource and sustain the important investments that all oil-producing countries must make to maintain production capacities,” said Ramirez, who is also president of state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela S.A (PDVSA).
“We know the price of oil is being affected by factors apart from so-called oil-market fundamentals; in other words, financial speculation, the weakness of the dollar, all those elements that are closely tied to a perception of economic problems,” Ramirez said.
Despite the drastic fall in price between 2008-2009, from $140 to $35 per barrel, the minister hailed the “significant recovery” since then.
Venezuela President Hugo Chavez claimed last year that oil should be above $100 a barrel because the US dollar "is increasingly worthless."
Venezuela, a founding member of OPEC and one of the globe’s top oil exporters, says it produces 2.9 million barrels per day, though OPEC and the IEA put that figure closer to 2.3 million barrels a day.
The country says it plans to increase output to 4.15 million bpd in 2015 and to 6.85 million bpd starting in 2021 thanks to several promising projects in the massive, heavy-oil Orinoco Belt in eastern Venezuela, according to Ramirez.