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Venezuela state oil company PDVSA reports sharp drop in revenues

© AFP/File | This 13 December 2002 photo shows a view of an oil refinery of the PDVSA Venezuelan oil company in the oil port of Tia Juana, Venezuela, 50 km (31 miles) from Maracaibo

CARACAS (AFP) - 

Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA revealed on Saturday that its revenues have dropped sharply, spelling bad news for a crisis-torn country heavily reliant on its exports of crude oil.

Revenues in 2016 slumped 33.5 percent compared to the previous year, the company said in a report published on its website.

PDVSA registered $48 billion in income for last year, compared to $72 billion in 2015.

The average price of a barrel of Venezuelan crude declined 21 percent to $35.15 in 2016, down from $44.65 in 2015, it said.

The country's oil ministry has projected that Venezuelan crude would fetch $43.72 a barrel in 2017, but oil prices remain depressed globally.

The South American nation, an OPEC member with the largest proven oil reserves in the world, relies on crude exports for 96 percent of its foreign currency and for around half of government income.

The United States is its biggest customer, buying roughly 40 percent of output. Much of the rest goes to repay loans from China and Russia.

According to PDVSA, Venezuela's oil production has slumped steadily in the past two years, going from 2.9 million barrels per day (mbpd) in 2015, to 2.57 mbpd last year and 1.9 mbpd this year.

It said it had realized cost reductions in 2016 worth $7 billion.

"Despite the unconventional war that it has been a victim of, and the global fall in oil prices, PDVSA continues to promote and participate in activities directed at fostering integral and sustainable development for the country," it said.

According to analysts, years of neglect have seen PDVSA's infrastructure become rundown and exploration curbed, resulting in declining production.

Despite the situation, and given its vital role in reimbursing Venezuela's huge debt amid worries of a default, PDVSA said it will "continue to honor its commitments to international institutions and bond holders in the international market."

© 2017 AFP