Venezuela’s state-run firm PDVSA faces around $5.2b in payments to bondholders in 2016, a sum that some experts say it will be hard-pressed to meet after the government used nearly all of its available cash reserves to pay $1.5b in maturities recently.
It was also reported that Venezuela’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum had marked a slight increase of price for Venezuelan crude, despite remaining below $25. The average price of Venezuelan crude sold by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) end of February rose by 3%, informed Latin American Herald Tribune.
As Venezuela grows closer to exhausting nearly every means of paying its debt, some oil market participants are seriously pondering the possible implications of an unprecedented event: the default of a major crude producing company, Reuters reported. A default could curtail some of the OPEC member’s exports by crippling its ability to import crude and fuels used to blend its extra heavy oil, according to experts. It could also degrade the quality of domestic gasoline by limiting purchases of necessary components, wrote BusinessInsider.
As of 2015, Venezuela had nearly 298b barrels of proved oil reserves, the largest in the world. According to the US Department of Energy, Venezuela was the fourth-largest supplier of imported crude oil and petroleum products to the United States, followed by Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico. US imports from Venezuela have been on an overall decline in recent years. In the month of October 2015, the United States imported an average of 802,000b/d of crude oil and petroleum products from Venezuela, a decline of 49% from a decade ago, Latin American Herald Tribune reported.